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Sunday, July 31, 2005

RM 4

Popeye, my first childhood hero, was more right than he knew: Spinach to power green computers, phones
***
There really is a Potted Meat Museum, apparently, as I read in Greg Haymes' Times Union column. Sarge, this is VERY disturbing.
***
As a black church-going man, I was VERY fascinated with the Washington Post article How Today's Church Is Failing Black Men, by John W. Fountain,
Journalism Professor and Former Post Reporter. If this article disappears, please let me know; I have the full-text in an e-mail sent to me.
***
Top 10 Driving Songs, from About.com: "Drivers who are singing along to favorite music are likely to concentrate more on their driving and are less likely to fall asleep." So this will not only entertain you, it may save somebody's life, maybe even your own.
***
Conversely, some of these folks, "winners" of the Darwin Awards lacked the capacity for self-preservation.
***
I know you I'm sure all you erudite computer maven types know this, but as librarian, I get queried on a wide range of things not as commonly known as you might think. I was asked recently if the fact that you type in the URL and nothing comes up means that the website is available. I said, no. Actually, I said, "NO!" I directed them to a couple websites such as Whois Source or InterNIC. I suggested they buzz around the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers website, for even more info.
***
Which American City Provides The Best Consumer Test Market? If your from these parts, you know, it's Albany, NY. Or more specifically, "the Albany, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a consumer life stage profile that correlates almost perfectly with the consumer life stage profile of the whole U.S., with a correlation score of .90904 (A score of 1 would be a perfect correlation.)" Where does your MSA rate? Check here. Albany, New York: the epitome of America. This came out last year, but I had need to look it up this month, and pass it on to you lucky folks. (Also, I didn't blog last year.)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

JEOPARDY, Part 10

Continued from Saturday, July 23.

The third game for the week is the third show filmed that day. I’m sitting in the first row of the audience next to Julie, who will be on the next (Thursday) show. There are questions being asked (or more correctly, answers being given) and for quite a few, no one is getting. I remember whispering to Julie, "Be True to Your School" in response to a $500 question referencing the Beach Boys that nobody even rang in on. I had the distinct feeling that if I had gotten THAT set of boards against THOSE contestants, I would have won. Yelling out the answers in front of the TV has nothing on THAT feeling.

There was a technical glitch during this third show; the lights went out. They had stop, then restart, which involved the audience applauding as they were at the time of the incident.

After the show, I went downstairs, got my things, and headed for the front door to a more than a few "Good job!" comments. I ran into my friend Karen from NYC, then to Bianca de la Garza from Channel 10 in Albany, for whom I did a 10-second commercial. "This is Roger Green from Albany in front of the Wang Theater in Boston. Watch for me on JEOPARDY! on ABC-10!" This took longer (i.e., more takes)than I thought it would.

I had gotten a ride over to the Wang Theater in the morning, but I had to walk back to the hotel with friend Karen. There was a bunch of people beeping their horns. I thought they were just rude Boston drivers, but as it turned out, they were beeping and waving at ME! These folks had gone to the taping and were giving me kudos. It’d be a cliché to say that I felt like a rock star. It would be true, but a cliché.

Back at the hotel, Max was waiting, but his mother was retrieving the car. Judy and Max had gotten lost in Cambridge, abandoned the vehicle, took public transportation, and barely got to the show on time. Eventually, Karen, Max and Judy all left, and I lay on the bed happy/sad with the experience.

Later, Karen took me out to dinner, then to a club where we saw Pete Droge and his band. I’d met the group twice when they and Karen were in Albany, and they were among the first people who weren’t at the show to find out how much I’d won; Karen told them, I didn’t. I bought Pete’s then-new album at their gig.

The next morning, I was ravenous. While I couldn’t eat the previous morning, I practically couldn’t stop. Back in my room, I got a message on my phone from Karen: "You gotta see the Glo-o-o-obe!" She said the name of the Boston paper as though it had four syllables. After I pack up to leave, I pick up a paper, and on the first page of the Entertainment sections were two pictures of ME. Well, not just me. Both also pictured Amy Roeder, the "local angle" in the story; one also featured the former champion, Tom. Still, it was a real kick.

I took at train to Hyannis, south of Boston, to visit the brother of my then ex-girlfriend (and now wife) Carol, Mark, and his fiancée, Leanne. On the train, I swear there was a woman staring at me, and I reckon she was a reader of the Glo-o-o-obe . I had decided that I wasn’t going to give out the results to anyone. The contract I signed suggested that I couldn’t exploit the fact that I had won before it aired, and WTEN was under even stricter standards.

Now began seven weeks of "How many changes of clothes did you wear?" Or "How many days shall I set my VCR for?" Or other bald attempts to tell what I was not going to tell. Heck, now it was a matter of prinicple; I don't WANT to reveal the information. Besides, I thought of it as a sporting event, where I wouldn't want to know the score.

I took the bus home from Hyannis and went to work on Monday, where I was also subjected to another form of harassment. When Bianca de la Garza had interviewed me before the show, I noted that just passing the test didn’t guarantee being on the show. So here’s the Bianca voiceover: "He had to have something else." Roger, talking: "It must be charisma, I don’t know." (I laugh.)

Charisma. Apparently enough people saw this to make this the running joke in the office, not for a couple days, or a few months, but for four or five YEARS. Especially from Jinshui.

On October 6, a woman from Albany named Linda Zusman won $12,000 in her one-win appearance. I actually looked for her number to congratulate her (and tell her my news), but never reached her.

Also, in October, a woman who wrote for a quarterly publication for WTEN asked me the Final JEOPARDY! Answer, which seemed to be a reasonable request, except that I didn’t know, exactly. "Had something to do with Donkin or Tonquin. I know the response was 'What is Hanoi?'" She got a little snippy: "Weren’t you THERE?" I didn’t say this to her, but the answer was yes and no. Physically, of course, but mentally, on some other planet.

I went for a walk to a local preserve called Five Rivers with Carol, and hinted that I had won a travel prize that she might go on with me, an obvious wooing move. But it also had the effect of her thinking that I HADN’T won any money.

Peter Iselin used to own the newsweekly Metroland, and was going to be on JEOPARDY! I called Metroland and asked them, "Do you want a story about that?" "Are you one of our regular contributors?" "No." "Well, no thanks." And that was that. I don’t know if it would have made any difference to tell them I had just been on the show, but I never got a chance to get that out.

There were two things I did just prior to the show’s airing that made my life a whole lot easier. I made a phone call to someone, and I paid a visit somewhere.

Concluded on Saturday, August 6.

3R?-3

Given the fact that this month is the 36th anniversary of the moonwalk, the United States is trying to get back in the space shuttle business, and Scotty from Star Trek died,

Please tell me:

1. What character from a television program or movie about space travel do you most identify, and why?

2. What thing in space travel fiction (book, movie, TV) is most likely to turn out to be true/possible in the future?

3. As commercial space flight becomes a reality, how much would you spend to go up in space? How long would you have to be up there to make it worth your while?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Cooperstown: 1 is good. 2 is better?

For many years in Cooperstown, there was a Hall of Fame weekend. It featured a parade, an exhibition game between two major league clubs, a regular season game between the Oneonta minor league team and an opponent, and of course, the induction ceremony, along with plenty of opportunities for the retired players to make a some money signing autographs on pictures, baseballs, bats, caps, any semi-flat surface.

Then a few years ago, someone had this bright idea: why doesn't Cooperstown have TWO Hall of Fame weekends? One would be in late May or June, the other in the end of July or early August. The first event would feature the exhibition game. The second event would feature the minor league game. EACH event would feature a parade, and there would be TWO chances for the old-timers to make a few bucks. The merchants would be able to rake in some extra dough as well.

This year, the exhibition game was early, May 24, and one of the participants was the WORLD CHAMPION Boston Red Sox. My father-in-law, Richard, stood in line for 8 hours in February, but failed to get any tickets. So I didn't go to the game for the first time in five years. He seemed destined to miss his first game in about fifteen.

On May 24, which was his birthday, Richard and his wife Joyce went to Cooperstown anyway; it's only about 20 miles from Oneonta, where they live. He asked off-handedly whether there might be seats available, and there were! Some of the teams who had gotten an allotment of tickets had returned them. So that was a very nice birthday gift to him.

Richard has a book where he keeps a record of each game; he's a season ticket holder of the Oneonta Tigers. For a regular season game, scorekeeping is not too hard, though we saw a 7-2-5-1 pickle earlier this year. (That means the left fielder threw home to the catcher who threw to third base who threw to the pitcher covering home and got the out.) But in the exhibition game, it's almost impossible. For one thing, both teams bring up a bunch of minor league players, especially pitchers, just for the day. Also, the stars usually play only an inning or two. Also, one can leave the game, then come back in the game, which is not generally allowed in professional baseball.

This weeekend, Richard and I are going to the second 2005 Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown. Then we'll walk through town picking out the old pros. "Hey, there's Yogi." "That's Mudcat Grant." "I think that's Ferguson Jenkins." Then we'll see the Oneonta Tigers play the Tri-City Valley Cats (of Troy, NY, near Albany) in, as it's always called, "historic Doubleday Field." It's a real thrill for the young players.

There is usually a Q & A with some of the inductees and/or other Hall of Famers. But this year, that's been pushed back to Monday, featuring the new inductees, Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg.

Cooperstown is a pretty, idyllic place. But if you want to come just to to see the Baseball Hall of Fame, I MOST DEFINITELY recommend that you come some time other than the HoF weekends, some time when it isn't a madhouse.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Blog Poem

This is an exercise stolen from Greg. The last one was a disaster, so I thought I'd try again.

Not only are these title lines from blogs, but they are from the MIXED Bag CD bloggers from what is currently on their pages. Only one is from mine. There are 11 titles that I put in the 10 lines.

Look for the ridiculous in everything, and you will find it.
SOULLESS RELIGIO-MANIACS
SPIN out of control
You People Are Weird Creeps
A bit more modern horror lamenting.
I have an Idea!
When I'm dictator ...
Gonna Make You Behave...
Because I'm petty and can't help myself
Kicking myself in the bootstraps

Blackout

Song playing in my head: Last Night, I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All. Actually, the last TWO nights.

Seems like only yesterday that I was in the dark in the sweltering heat without electricity. Wait, that WAS yesterday.

Let’s start with Monday night. It was warm and I had trouble sleeping. So I got up, posted my Tuesday blog, worked on a future piece, went downstairs to read or watch TV. I wondered what was the ugly thing Carol had attached to the curtain rod on the (partially glass) front door. Suddenly I realized it was a sleeping bat! Crap, I HATE bats. I paced around for about 10 minutes, then got a towel, grabbed the bat, opened the door and tossed bat (and towel) out the front door. I went upstairs and told Carol, and neither of us got any sleep the rest of the night.

Tuesday morning, the towel is still outside. Is the bat still in it? I put towel in a box. Carol took the box to a lab, where technician found no bat. In other words, I had put a towel in a box, and poked holes in it so it could breathe.

Tuesday noon, the Health Department didn’t believe we were exposed to rabies.

Tuesday night, Carol implemented some bat-proofing activities, which included putting down a towel (another towel, not the bat-towel) in the space under the door leading to the attic. This process also involved staring at the roofline at dusk to see if a bat might come in, so we could identify how the bat came in. This was a fruitless activity. We went to bed around 10:15 p.m.

At 10:30 p.m., the power went off, only for a few seconds, but long enough for the clocks to go to the flashing mode. Carol reset the clock, we went back to bed, and the power went out again, for 3 to 5 minutes. She reset the clocks AGAIN, and we returned to bed.

Daughter Lydia has a tendency to wake up during the night, but then she rolls over and goes back to sleep. But at 12:30 or so, she must have seen the netting Carol put over her crib as bat-proofing, and she started wailing uncontrollably. She stood up, which made her even more frantic. I went into her room and picked her up, expecting to rock her back to sleep in the guest room.

Then the power went off AGAIN. So I brought Lydia to our bed, because I figured it would be better to be on the prowl for bats together, and I got a flashlight. The power remained off. As the air outside became more still, the stickiness quotient increased. I looked for batteries for the portable radio to see if I could get some news. I found 4 new C batteries; unfortunately, the radio needed 6 D batteries.

I got dressed to go to the 24-hour grocery store a couple blocks away. While we had no power, the school across the street that’s being torn down must have a generator for their night work. A house a couple doors down must also have a backup system. The main street in the area, Madison Avenue, was fairly well lit. The library had an emergency light system, the police station, the TrustCo bank and the gas station (which was closed) all had some lights from generators.

Unfortunately, the Price Chopper on Madison was dark. Almost mockingly, the street east of Main Street, just a block away in that direction, was lit. As I peered south down West Lawrence, dark as far as I could see, I discovered a peculiar thing. Tree-lined streets are lovely in the day, and quaint at night with street lights. But these same trees block the limited illumination of a half moon already obscured by high clouds, making the trek down that street feel like a tunnel, with only a flashlight for guidance. It was strangely unsettling.

I went home, and the three of us slept, more off than on. (At 3 a.m., it was 79 degrees F, with a relative humidity of 66.9 at the Albany Airport, which is usually COOLER than it is in town - that reading meant hot and quite humid.) Finally, at 4:15 a.m. yesterday morning, power was finally restored.

The other tune running through my head is I'm So Tired.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Creative Commons

As a librarian, I tend to be cognizant of, and pulled by, two often conflicting values, the widespread distribution of information versus the desire to honor intellectual property rights (copyright, trademark, patent), the latter so the creators will be willing and able to "do it again."

(Not that I always ABIDE by the latter, but I usually have a good excuse, or a very good rationalization.)

So, I was very interested in reading an article in the July/August 2005 Searcher, "The Magazine for Database Professionals". The article, "Generosity and Copyright" by Laura Gordon-Murname, asked the question, "How can you help patrons identify public domain content...?"

The copyright law has become more skewed towards the copyright holder over time, especially since 1978, with longer periods and more lenient applications, so that the doodle on a napkin or a quick e-mail becomes copyrightable. According to Gordon-Murname, there are many critics who believe these changes fly in the face of the law as envisioned by Jefferson and his contemporaries. She quotes Larry Lessig, who says this "permission culture" has changed from "an opt-in system in which creators were required to register to an opt-out system."

The Creative Commons Foundation was founded in 2001 to create "balance, compromise and moderation" for copyrights, offering "creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them." Creative Commons has developed tools so that creative people who wish to share their work can specify who can use their works and under what circumstances.

Try the Creative Commons search mechanism or the new (March 2005) Yahoo! Search Creative Commons Search. You will be able to ascertain if the work:
- is in the public domain
- requires attribution
- can't be use commercially
- must be used as is (no derivatives)
- allows for sampling

Of course, many federal government web sites are in the public domain. Gordon-Murname lists these sites that offer public domain content:
Library of Congress
National Archives
NASA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Also these other PD locations:
Public Library of Science
Ibiblio, "the public's library and digital archive"
Project Gutenberg, "the Internet's oldest producer of FREE electronic books (eBooks or eTexts)"
The Online Books Page
Bartleby.com, "Great Books Online"

Some recent comments from the Copyright Office indicate that the Office is considering asking Congress to allow the "marketplace" to determine the price of using copyrighted material (after making almost everything imagineable under copyright), and expects the would-be user to go to the copyright holder to negotiate the price, if one can even FIND the copyright holder. I'm afraid this would stifle creativity in favor of endless litigation. Perhaps this "middle way" is a solution.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Lydster, Part 16 "In My Own Little Corner"

I was a big fan of the 1966 television production of "Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella". It starred Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. I loved the songs, even the goofy ones like "The Prince is Giving a Ball."
Herald: His royal highness Christopher Rupert Vwindemier Vlandamier Carl Alexander Francois Reginald Lancelot Herman
Boy: HERMAN?
Herald: Herman.. Gregory James is giving a ball.


I think I liked the production in large part because I had a great big crush on Lesley Ann Warren.

(There was a 1957 version with Julie Andrews and Jon Cypher, which I don't remember, although it may have been seen by more people than the M*A*S*H finale.)

Both versions features Cinderella singing "In My Own Little Corner":
In my own little corner in my own little chair
I can be whatever I want to be.
On the wings of my fancy I can fly anywhere
and the world will open its arms to me.


There were times when I was a teenager, and even a few times as an adult, when I'd be at a party and feel suddenly overwhelmed- by too many people, or by some uncomfortable situation, or for no discernable reason at all. I'd go off to an unoccupied room, even the attic or cellar, or an unused stairwell, just to get away for a while, my version of "my own little corner."

Daughter Lydia likes hanging out in corners, between the CD cases, in the bathroom, under the sink (which no longer has anything under it.) Sometimes she gets into hiding in the smallest spaces, then gets trapped, like cat stuck in a tree, and needs to be rescued.

I want for her to be whatever she wants to be. I want her to be able to fly anywhere. I desparately want the world to open its arms to her, though I know that won't always happen, and that she'll want to climb back into her own little corner.

I need to learn how to make her safe enough to venture out again, if I can. Like last week, when she went into a swimming pool for the very first time, and liked it...at least the top two steps.

Happy year and a third, Lydia.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Flip Flop Flap

There were two fairly minor stories in the news last week that caught my fancy. Both involved decorum, and both reminded me of my father, one obtusely.

The first was the "flip flop flap", the story of some young women on the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team who were invited to the White House to meet W and were chastised for wearing flip flops as opposed to shoes, preferably closed-toe shoes. Five of the nine in the first row were wearing this apparently awful apparel.

For some reason, this "lack of propriety" reminded me of a trip my family took from Charlotte to Raleigh, NC some 10 or 20 years ago. My father was complaining that the late Gregory Hines had worn an earring to some black tie event honoring black Americans, probably an NAACP awards thing, that was televised. Dad complained that Hines was showing disrespect to the organization. My sister Leslie and I argued that he ALWAYS wore an earring, that this was not something he did to dis the event, and for a male actor to wear an earring was no big deal. This conversation went back and forth for about 90 miles, with neither side backing down.

The other story was about Why Knot, a robot that can tie a tie, but only certain types of knots. The link to my father was more obvious. We were having our family portrait taken in 1975, at a time when my relationship with him was in one of those shaky periods. He stood about four feet from my mother and me, and he asked my MOTHER, "Wouldn’t Roger want to wear a tie?" Well, Roger never WANTS to wear a tie, as he finds them noose-like and unnecessary. But if Roger’s father had asked ROGER if Roger WOULD wear a tie, it is likely that Roger would have complied. But since Roger’s dad asked Roger’s mom instead, the answer was: "No way." And I think of that story every time I see that picture. (Talk about "Every picture tells a story.")

I wouldn’t wear flip flops to see the President, but I never expect that I’ll ever be asked to visit the White House. Also, I don’t own any flip flops, and I don’t think I’d buy some if the occasion of did arise. As for Why Knot, do we REALLY need a machine that will help us cut off blood and oxygen to the brain?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

RM3

More Random Meanderings (or Random Mutterings or Ruminating Madness or Roger's Minutae):

This is my blogger code: B1 d- t- k+ s-- u-- f+ i o x- e- l c--
For a translation, go here.
***
Someone showed me what you can do with a Windows keyboard. (Besides throw it out the window.) When you press the Windows key (between Ctrl and Alt) and M, it minimizes all the windows you may have opened! Maybe you knew that already, but it's come in handy for me when I have eight windows open and I can't see what I'm doing anymore.
***
I set up another blog to put articles I think are interesting, but that aren't mine. Here's the first post about oil running out, with commentary by my acerbic bud, Daniel W. Van Riper. When the U.S. first went into Iraq, there was a widespread fear that oil may have been a motive. Reading this reminded me of that discussion.
***
When I take Lydia for a walk in her carriage, and dog walkers approach, they almost always say that the dog "is friendly" or "doesn't bite". Please allow me the privilege of being a little bit wary anyway.
***
My friend Claudia writes: "Guess no more what the film of the summer is. LADIES IN LAVENDER with Dame Judith Dench and Maggie Smith was a visual feast of beautiful England, enchanting story, complete with the mastery of Joshua Bell. We just adored every moment of English country side, the crashing ocean, melding personal stories. In other words it is delicious and enjoy every moment of it." I haven't seen it, but she generally has very good taste.
***
John Rodat has a Myth America columm about Buddhist monks and moving that I related to heavily, and you collector types may as well. If it ain't there anymore, it's here.
***
I was on the bus home a couple weeks ago when I see a guy get on. He was very striking young man, very fair skin, head shaved, oddly shaped glasses. He was wearing a black T-shirt that read in white letters, "Day of Silence." I might have thought nothing more about this, except that he had pulled out a cell phone almost immediately after he had gotten on the bus. So, my eyes HAD to follow him to the back of the bus, where he sat, silently, playing some sort of electronic game.
***
This is one of those a/v pieces that is funny and scary in equal measure. It appears that the Opus Sunday strip a couple weeks ago was inspired by this concept.
***
I shaved my beard on July 4. People seeing me the next couple days often commented, "Oh, you look so much younger!" as though that would prompt me to shave more often. Not a chance. Razor is brutal tool to use on face. I did it once because I was hot. However, even when I'm done shaving, I have a 5 o'clock shadow of Nixonian proportions, and impenetrable stubble on the jaw line. Besides, I'm contrarian enough to wonder why it's so hot to look "younger". There's a mindset, epitomized by those inane Clyde Frazier/Keith Hernandez Just for Men hair coloring ads, that gray is bad. Gray is good; "gray matter" represents the brain, after all.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

3R?-2

Part 2 of Three Ramblin’ Questions

Alex Trebek, Canadian-born host of a popular American game show, turned 65 yesterday.

So, please tell me:

1. If your life were a game show, what would it be called and what would be the rules?

2. As you’ve gotten older yourself, how has that changed your attitude towards aging and the aged?

3. Can you sing the first verse of O Canada and/or name the current Canadian Prime minister and/or name the Canadian provinces (10) and territories (3)? If you said yes to any of these questions, what is your nationality?

BONUS QUESTION: Alex Trebek, better with the mustache, or without?

JEOPARDY! Part 9

Continued from Saturday, July 16.

During the commercials between Double JEOPARDY! and the Final, you have to make your bet. They give you a pad to figure it out, then they check the bet to see that it’s legible. They don’t want a $100.00 bet to be confused with a $10,000 bet, so they require the decimals for the cents. They also tell you the first word of the answer, which, in this case is What. (This is why you’ll sometimes see bad grammar, or a lack of a verb such as "What the White House?")

The Final JEOPARDY! clue in World Capitals was this: "This city was known as Dong Kihn, and to the Europeans as Tonquin."

Yikes!

For five seconds, I have no idea even what was being asked. Then I think, Hong Kong? No, that’s not a world capital. Then I look at the two primary words in the clue Tonquin and Donkin. If you blend them together, you get Tonkin. Tonkin Gulf. Where’s that? Viet Nam. And what’s the capital of Viet Nam? And all that processing took about 10 seconds.

Tom writes, What is Hanoi? Correct. He bet $1000 and now has $6100, a curious bet, I thought, though if we had ALL gotten it WRONG, he would have won. Amy wrote, "What is Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City?" Wrong, no longer a world capital. Then my response is revealed: "What is Hanoi?" At that moment, it didn’t matter what I bet. I stand, poker-faced. $8000, added to my $9600, for a total of $17,600! When my bet was uncovered, there was an audible gasp in the audience; I just exhaled.

Why the heck did I bet eight grand? For one thing, I felt reasonably comfortable with the topic (although if it has been a capital of one of the former Soviet republics, I’d be in trouble) She had $8400. If she bet it all (and got it right), she’d have $16,800. For me to win, I then needed to bet $16,800 (her score doubled) –$9600 (my score) +$1 or $7601 (oh, and get the question right.). So, I figure, if I’m going to bet $7601, I might as well make it an even $8000.

I got tremendous applause, more than I could have imagined. There were reasons: 1) I was told by an audience member that WTEN brought a busload of people with them to see the show (how would they do that without announcing it on the air?), 2) both of my friends, Judy and Karen, were telling people sitting around them, "Hey, we know him, go root for Roger." And they DID.

But there was little time to savor the victory. I had to go downstairs, change my clothes, come up and do it again in 20 minutes. Maggie accompanies me to the bathroom AGAIN. At the very last minute, I got my stuffed monkey Ersie and switched him from podium #2 to podium #1.

My competitors in the second game were Robin Shepherd, a contracts administrator from Pennsylvania, and Jim Zanotti, a law student from Massachusetts.

The categories were Yankee Ingenuity, People and Places, She’s My First Lady, Musical Instruments, and Rhymes with Cod. I liked the idea of all of them. Jim hits the Daily Double on the second clue in Celebrity Relatives and missed it (I knew that answer -Carol Burnett's grandmother!). I never get a chance in the category, or much else, and at the first break, I have $400 (from one answer), Jim has $100, and Robin has $1500.

At the interview segment, I figure Alex will ask about Rod Serling or mountains, but says instead: "You must read a lot of books," which threw me a little.

I’m ringing in a lot, but I’m not GETTING in a lot, and on the last clue, which is an audio one, I swear it sounded like a harpsichord, which is how I incorrectly identified it, but on TV, it sounded like a lute, which is what it was, and which Jim correctly identified. I lose $500. The score after the JEOPARDY! round is Roger $600, Jim $2700, Robin $2900.

Again, I start Double Jeopardy. The categories Nathaniel Hawthorne, Animal Name Origins, Films of the 40s, April, Showers, and the Mayflower.

Early on, there was a visual cue of some guy. Somehow, he reminded me of Al Jolson. I hated Al Jolson, and his blackface minstrel show. This guy was not in blackface, but it was indeed Larry Parks playing Jolson. I also get a clue on Gaslight, then the first clue in Hawthorne, which gets me to $2200. I never answer another clue; I simply can’t get in.

At one Daily Double in the Mayflower, Robin loses $1500 (on another question I knew!), so it’s me at $2200, Jim at $3500, and Robin at $5000, so if I COULD have gotten in, I’d have been all right.

Jim got the second Daily Double correctly, and I started having a new strategy: root for Jim to keep it close. Alas, on the last clue answered, he lost $1000, so at the end of Double JEOPARDY!, it was me STILL at $2200, Jim at $5500, and Robin at $9200

The Final JEOPARDY! answer was in part a visual one. The category was famous "New Englanders": "Native New Englander, seen here modeling for his company’s catalog sometime before WWI."

Almost no chance for me to win, Alex notes, which irritates me; it was true, but I didn’t need the reminder. I said Bean, as in L.L. Bean, judged to be correct. I bet $1800 for no reason other than it had an 8 in it, like my first bet, and ended at $4000.

At this point I really didn’t care what happened, though I knew I didn’t win.

Both Jim and Robin said Sears, but I knew she had enough (with $6700) to win.

I walk off stage after the fade out. (I have NO idea what the contestants talked with Alex about after EITHER of the shows I was on.) Susanne Thurber tried to make me feel better. "You did well. You won a lot of money. You were the only one to get the Final, and that put you in second place." It did? I had no idea. Jim had finished with $3500.

So, what is worse than being able to say I lost on JEOPARDY?

Continued on Saturday, July 30.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday pm, 7-22-05

The most funkadelic man on the planet, George Clinton, turns 65 today. "Free your mind and your a** will follow."
***
There has been a bit of a comic book blogger's war going on with a few folks. Can't really explain it, but it's too bad. I don't know any of these people personally, but I've gotten to "know" them through their words. Somehow, the lyrics to a song from the Lovin' Spoonful Daydream album came to mind.
***
The "random searches" in the New York City subway system may not actually stop terrorism, but it may work as a "feel good" remedy, and does help redefine the limits of just far people are willing to allow governmental intrusion.

The Middle Child

I was only 16 months old when my sister Leslie was born. If I had any sense of entitlement from being an "only", I don't recall it. Leslie DID relish in being the youngest and the only girl until Marcia came along nearly four years later.

Leslie and I were always close. I remember when I was in first grade and she was entering kindergarten, I brought her around to all my friends. I was so proud.

Then for a number of years, we sang together, first as part of the junior choir in church, then as a trio with my father (more about which I'll tell in September, around my dad's birthday.)

As adults, we pretty much were in synch. I understood where she was coming from, and vice versa, even when we disagreed, which wasn't often.

So when we had a major falling out around the time when my father died (the details of which I'll relate in about 20 years), it was very difficult for both of us.

So, I'm glad we're back. She calls me about affairs of the heart, family dynamics, politics, issues of faith, indeed a wide-ranging dialogue, and our phone bills reflect THAT.

My sister sends me more "junk", which is to say non-personal, e-mail than just about anyone I know. This one is pretty typical:

Just passing along a little Biblical humor...

A new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. Therefore, he took out a card and wrote "Revelation 3:20" on the back of it and stuck it in the door.
When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, "Genesis 3:10."
Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.
Revelation 3:20 begins "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."
Genesis 3:10 reads, "I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked."

Happy birthday, middle child, albeit a day early. I love you.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pastors for Peace-Cuba

Three posts-three riffs on blogs:

The Troy Conference of the United Methodist Church listserv received an interesting e-mail this afternoon that reads:

Pastor Steve Clunn (First UMC, Schenectady) reports that a caravan of aid headed for Cuba (via Mexico) in the wake of devastating Hurricane Dennis, has been blocked at the US/Mexico border by US Commerce Department officials.

The caravan is organized by a group called Pastors for Peace, and members of First Church Schenectady participated in packing some of the medical supplies for the shipment. Reports from the caravan are online.

You can also learn more here.

Persons who would like to make their voices heard in support of this grassroots effort, are encouraged to contact their Congressional representatives, as well as the commerce department. (Contact information is provided on the site above)

The following note is from the "blogspot" site:
As of 1:30 pm EDT, The Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba is being held up at the US-Mexico border by US Commerce Department officials. They are threatening to search every vehicle and every item of humanitarian aid. They are telling us that "only licensable goods will be allowed to cross into Mexico."

Pastors for Peace does not accept or apply for a license to deliver humanitarian aid to Cuba.

There are 130 US citizens traveling with the caravan. They and the humanitarian aid are traveling in eight buses, a box truck and two small cars. It will take days to inspect the 140 tons of aid. We are prepared to do whatever we need to do to deliver our humanitarian aid to Cuba.

SPIN out of control

Greg Burgas over at Delenda est Carthago noted the recent list from Spin magazine of "the 100 best albums of the past 20 years," then made comments about them. That was SO intellectually lazy that I decided to do the EXACT SAME THING. Then I noticed that Tom the Dog had ALREADY RIPPED OFF THE IDEA. You'd think that would dissuade me. But NO! I'd already started, so what the hey...

The ones in italics I own. The ones I didn't own and had no comment on, I deleted:

1. Radiohead - OK Computer (1997). I feel like like I should like this more than I do.
2. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988). Greg wrote: "I should own this, shouldn't I?" So should I.
3. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991). When I first heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit", I thought it was very funny. I didn't realize it was a REAL expression of existential angst. First time that I felt old in terms of listening to current music.
4. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted (1992). I own no Pavement, don't know that I'd recognize a Pavement song if you played it for me.
5. The Smiths - The Queen is Dead (1986). I have a Morrissey album, which is as close as I get.
6. Pixies - Surfer Rosa (1988). Own a different Pixies album.
7. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising (1989). I have different de la Soul
8. Prince - Sign O' the Times (1987). Ah, an album I've actually played in the last 60 days.
9. PJ Harvey - Rid of Me (1993). She's always intrigued me when she'd show up on other people's albums, but I don't own any of her work.
10. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (1988). Oughta get this, too, I suppose.
11. U2 - Achtung Baby (1991). There's a Wim Wenders film Until The End Of The World that came out in 1991, which utterly confused me, but made me intrigued by the U2 song of the same name.
13. Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising (1985). Have other Hüsker Dü.
15. Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville (1993). I have "Whip-Smart."
16. Beck - Odelay (1996). I'm old enough to actually have been confused by his name (with Jeff Beck).
18. Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987). No big fan of theirs.
19. Hole - Live Through This (1994). A whole song or two on compilation. Not my cuppa.
22. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991). This group showed up on these Sire Records compilation series Just Say Yes.
24. Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out (1997). I admit, I'm not at all familiar.
25. Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (1994). I suppose this is backward, but Johnny Cash's version has made me want to seek out the original.
26. Björk - Post (1995). Have an early Sugarcubes album.
27. The Cure - The Head on the Door (1985). They make me depressed, though I have a remix of theirs that ain't bad.
28. Oasis - Definitely Maybe (1994). Have different Oasis.
32. The Replacements - Tim (1985). I think I was given this CD. Hardly ever play it.
36. Pixies - Doolittle (1989). I have on VINYL, one of the last LPs I got.
39. Lucinda Williams - Lucinda Williams (1988). I share Greg's affection for "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." Saw her in Washington Park in Albany.
40. Run-D.M.C. - Raising Hell (1986). Most of the rap I own was given to me.
44. Green Day - Dookie (1994). I think I have an irrational like for this band, because of its name.
45. Kanye West - College Dropout (2004). I've heard the tunes; I shoulds put it on my want list.
49. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998). I was "supposed to" like it, and didn't at first, but it's really grown on me.
50. New Order - Low-Life (1985). Have earlier New Order, which was sleep inducing.
51. Nirvana - In Utero (1993). Play it every February, for Kurt's birthday.
52. Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill (1986).
53. Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles (1999). Probably will get some Rage sometime.
54. The Breeders - Last Splash (1993).
55. The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole (1997). Have one of their discs.
57. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001).
58. Metallica - Master of Puppets (1986). I have never wanted to own any Metallica.
59. Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West (1997). He shows up on some compilation discs I own.
64. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). Greg said: "I never liked Eminem." Me neither.
77. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002). This has been on my wish list for three years.
79. Moby - Everything is Wrong (1995). I own "Play."
84. Soundgarden - Superunknown (1994). I love Weird Al's version of "Black Hole Sun".
85. R.E.M. - Automatic for the People (1992). I have a LOT of R.E.M.
86. Meat Puppets - Up on the Sun (1985). On some compilation I have. Not my style.
88. Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996). I think I have a song or two on a compilation.
89. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell (2003). Ditto.
90. Sonic Youth - Sister (1987). Ditto.
91. XTC - Skylarking (1986).
93. Pearl Jam - Ten (1991).
95. Elastica - Elastica (1995). Totally missed them.
96. The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (1985). I should get some Pogues.
97. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998). Don't know.
98. Cornershop - When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997). Don't know.

14 out of 100. Not very cool by SPIN standards.

Then Tom came up with a missing 25, plus the last three "worth fighting for":

Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
Bad Religion, Stranger Than Fiction
Barenaked Ladies, Gordon
Ben Folds Five, Whatever and Ever Amen
Johnny Cash, American Recordings
The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Faith No More, Angel Dust
Peter Gabriel, So
Indigo Girls, Rites of Passage
Lemonheads, It's a Shame About Ray
Metallica, the black album
Metallica, ...And Justice For All
Alanis Morrisette, Jagged Little Pill
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, She's the One soundtrack
Rage Against the Machine, the first album
The Refreshments, Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy
R.E.M., Green
R.E.M., Out of Time
Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
Sugar, Copper Blue
Therapy?, Troublegum
They Might Be Giants, John Henry
Weezer, the first album
Neil Young, Harvest Moon
Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape
Green Day, American Idiot
Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever

13 out of 28. NOW I'm getting cooler.

Then correspondents of Tom offered up some others; I'll list only the ones I have.

Sting's The Soul Cages
Tracy Chapman's Tracy Chapman
U2's The Joshua Tree and Pop
Cassandra Wilson's Belly of the Sun
Elvis Costello's King of America
James Horner’s Glory
Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind and Love & Theft
Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love
Paul Simon’s Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints


I'd also consider albums by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Loretta Lynn (produced by Jack White) and what the heck, the Beatles and Elvis Presley's greatest hits. Or can a GH be a best album? I always thought that the Sly & the Family Stone's GH, with several songs not otherwise available on LP, was one of the great albums of its time.

Gee, Greg, this SEEMED like a good idea at the time...

How U C da Flick

My friend Fred wrote in his IGN column last week that he liked the largely poorly-reviewed Fantastic Four movie, and that didn't bother me; I haven't even seen it yet. But when he said the movie The Incredibles, my FAVORITE movie last year in what was an admittedly limited selection, was ONLY OK, I was shocked, SHOCKED! until I remembered Roger's Rules of Cinema Watching.

1. Some movies require the big screen for initial viewing. This has been the contention of others about the special-effects movies such as Star Wars or The Matrix, but I discovered that it's important in some other films as well.

My first personal example: Coming Home, with Jane Fonda and Kris Kristofferson. I saw it at the movies, enjoyed it. I saw it again on HBO and liked it not quite so much. I figured that it wasn't a movie that could bear a second viewing. But then, I happened to see it a third time at a second-run theater, anf I enjoyed it nearly as much as I did the first time.
I'm convinced that, unless you have a large screen TV in a darkened room, with no access to the pause button, it's not nearly the same viewing experience. But...

2. Some movies are actually better on the small screen. I recall reading about, and subsequently seeing, a movie called Cold Turkey with Dick van Dyke, which was a bomb of a movie in its limited theatrical run, but actually found its niche as the prototype of the TV movie. I'm sure I saw it in the early 1970s on TV, when it ran SEVERAL times. BTW, it was about quitting tobacco, not something else.

3. Some movies are so good, it doesn't matter how you see them. Carol and I saw the DVD of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, earlier this year. We stopped the disc halfway through and went to bed! That's no way to see a film! Yet we still enjoyed it thoroughly.

4. High expectations will alter how you see a movie. My girlfriend at the time, her son, and I went to see Chariots of Fire the week after it had won best picture of 1981 at the Oscars. We all thought: "THAT was the best picture last year?" Likewise, I had rented a video of Citizen Kane, triumphed as "the greatest film ever made", and (HORRORS!) fell asleep. Conversely, as Fred noted HERE (July 20), low expectations may aid your viewing of a film.

5. Revealed plot points will alter how, or whether, you see a movie. The movie-going public kept the secrets of The Crying Game, The Sixth Sense, and The Usual Suspects. But unfortunately, I found out about the secret in Million Dollar Baby from some folks with a political agenda, so if I ever do see it, I'm going to try to forget what I know and let the movie surprise me.

6. Fatigue, a bad day, life's distractions will also alter your viewing enjoyment.

In Fred's case with the Incredibles, I believe #1, #4, and maybe #6 apply. Fred, I really think it is as good as you had heard, and I'm sorry your viewing didn't relect that. Now, I've got to go rent Citizen Kane, and try to watch it again, preferably NOT late at night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scotty

I just heard that James Doohan had died. I met him once, at a FantaCon. I'll have to write about that sometime, right, ADD?

Today is the 36th anniversary of the moonwalk, somehow an appropriate day for Star Trek's Chief Engineer, Montgomery Scott, to head off for that real final frontier.

Go Ask Alice

Alice Green is running as the Green Party candidate for mayor of Albany, NY. I'm quite pleased, even though we're not related.

For those of you from out-of-town, a very quick, very light primer in Albany politics. Remember the Democratic machine of Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago? (I mean the elder Mayor Richard Daley; his son is the mayor now.
Well, Albany's kinda like that. The last time a Republican was elected mayor was around the time Prohibition STARTED.

Like Chicago, this city was run by a powerful machine. For instance, one man, Erastus Corning, was mayor for over 40 years. And for most of that time, he wasn't even the most powerful guy in the city. That would have been Dan O'Connell, the Democratic Party chair. I shan't bore you with tales of the corrupting effect of one-party politics.

Erastus died in a Boston hospital in 1982 was replaced by a guy named Thomas Whalen, who seemed to try to make moderate changes in the system.

Then in 1993 came Jerry Jennings, who ran as an "outsider" and won. But soon he became the ultimate insider, and was challenged in the Democratic primary by a state assemblyman named Jack McEneny in 1997. Jerry beat Jack, and being the vindictive sort that he was, Jerry made sure that someone ran in the primary for the Assembly seat against Jack the next year. (Jack prevailed.)

In 2001, NO ONE ran against Jerry in the primary, and in this city, the primary IS the race.

In 2005, two guys with little name recognition are running against Jerry in the primary, and they haven't a prayer. The Republican challenger is perennial candidate Joe Sullivan (think Harold Stassen.)

Now, Alice Green, long-time activist in issues of law and justice and a very familiar figure in these parts, comes out as a minor party challenger. It's EXTREMELY unlikely that she will win either, but her entry will almost certainly mean that there will be a real campaign put forth by the incumbent, perhaps even with debates in the fall, and in THIS city, that's progress.

For information on all the races, go here

Jim Aparo, comic book artist

In my mind's eye, when I think of a Batman cover, it's not the 1960's Go Go Checks, Bam/Pow cheesy Batman. Nor is it even the fine Frank Miller Dark Knight. It's the clean, expressive work of Jim Aparo, who died early yesterday. You can see a couple of his covers here and here (July 19) and doubtlessly, many other places.

Of course he worked on a lot more than the Caped Crusader, and my friend, intrepid reporter Fred Hembeck (July 19), who broke the story to much of the comic book world, can tell you more.

My condolences to the Aparo family.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stop USA PATRIOT Act Renewal

What's the point of having a blog if you can't agitate occasionally?

The e-mail I got today read: "I know you have been sent several action alerts on this topic, but this one is probably the most important to which to respond. This is the beginning of the end for reform of the USA PATRIOT Act and it is vital that you let Congress hear your voice. Please act on this alert as soon as you can. Thanks."

I happen to think that the so-called USA PATRIOT Act is pretty vile, and one of my Senators is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, so I'll need to contact him tomorrow.

So if you're interested in the topic, go here.

Arena Football update

Forgot to mention the game we went to Friday between the Albany Conquest and the Green Bay Blizzard.
After the first quarter, it was Conquest 35, Blizzard 21.
At the half, it was Blizzard 55, Conquest 54.
After the third quarter, it was Conquest 75, Blizzard 62.
After the fourth quarter, it was Conquest 82, Blizzard 82.
Almost five and a half minutes into the overtime period, it was finally over: Conquest 88, Blizzard 82.
It was, according to the paper, "the highest-scoring game in arenafootball2's six-year history."

We went home at the half.

Unbeknownst to me, Carol had told the babysitter that we'd be home by 9:30, and since it WAS her birthday, who was I to argue?

Weird things about this particular game. Green Bay scored two touchdowns when THEY kicked off. One kick hits this bizarre metal part of the backing net and the ball careens into the field where the Blizzard player just runs it in.

The first 29 minutes of play took about 75 minutes, which I thought was reasonable. The clock doesn't stop even after the touchdown, only after the point after. The only other times that the clock stopped were on penalties.
But the last minute of the half took 15 minutes! The clock stopped for incomplete passes, first downs, just about everything, including the three touchdowns scored (2 by GB).

I'd go again next season (that was the last home game this year), but I think Carol would prefer that I go with someone else. ANYONE else. But she was a good sport about it.
***
And speaking of last, we watched the final episode of The Scholar, which we really enjoyed. The executive producer of the show, who appeared briefly in last night's segment, is writer/actor/Tut expert Steve Martin.
***
Oh, and this is my 100th post. E-mail me cake.

What's in a (Band) Name 2

Still in a music groove. (The pun wasn't intended, and might have been missed had I not noted it.) I've been musing again about whether bands can legitimately use their name after members leave and years go by.

The Lovin' SpoonfulThe current group features Joe Butler (father of actress Yancy Butler) and Steve Boone from the original group, plus Jerry Yester, who replaced Zal Yanovsky in 1967. So the group has the historic right to lay claim to the name. Still, it's hard to recognize them as such without John Sebastian. Not so incidentally, the group is playing tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

The Temptations- I'll make the point up front: when Otis Williams, the last original Temp retires or dies, I believe this will STILL be a legitimately named group. You started with Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul williams, Otis, and Elbridge Bryant. David Ruffin replaces Elbridge, Dennis Edwards replaces David, Richard Street replaces Paul, Ricky Owens replaces Eddie. And on and on. Think Mormon Tabernacle Choir; people come and go, but it's still the MTC. (An odd analogy sure, but it makes the point.)
The 1980-1 lineup was Otis, Melvin, Dennis, Richard, and Glenn Leonard, augmented by the briefly returning David and Eddie. I saw this septet perform; one of the two or three best concerts I ever saw. They performed as seven, but also as various permutations of the five that were on that particular recording that they were singing (Richard took the Paul parts, Paul having commited suicide in 1973.)

One of the things I liked about the Jefferson Airplane is that when they changed musically, they changed their name, to Jefferson Starship, then Starship. As a consumer, I always appreciated that. (I have no Starship.)

The Who - I really love the music of the Who. When Keith Moon died in 1978, and was replaced by Kenny Jones, there were people who wondered if they were still the Who. But when John Entwhistle died in 2002, and Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry performed a few days later, it was clear the SURVIVORS thought they were still the Who. I just don't think so, though the Townsend website refers to Who activities in 2004.
Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died in 1980, and LZ broke up. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have since performed together, but as Page/Plant, which I consider a good model. Here's an Onion piece about the Who and commercials.

The Dave Clark Five got together, decided to call a day in 1971 (although Mike Smith and Dave played with others as "Dave Clark & Friends" for a time for contractual obligation reasons.)

The Supremes - a tricky case. The Supremes (nee the Primettes) were Diane (later Diana) Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Barbara Martin, who left before fame struck. Flo left in 1967 (and died in 1976), replaced by Cindy Birdsong, as the group became Diana Ross and the Supremes. Diana left in 1969 for a solo career and was replaced by boxer Ernie Terrell's sister Jean. To the surprise of many, the group continued to have hits. Cindy left in 1972, replaced by Lynda Lawrence. Eventually, the group consists of Mary, Cindy and Freda Payne's sister Scherrie. In 1978, after the hits stopped, Mary toured with two other women. In 2000, Diana toured with Scherrie and Lynda, Mary's old cohorts! Reportedly, there's still bad blood between Mary (who had, but lost the rights to the "Supremes" name) and Diana. Oy! When Mary came to Albany last month, there was no pretense that it was the Supremes, only a Supreme. It's likely that there never will be a Supremes again.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Some Enchanted Evening

I posted on all thing musical yesterday and I forgot South Pacific. There's already been one week of the Rodgers and Hamerstein work offered up at the Park Playhouse in Albany's Washington Park, and the production will run Tuesdays through Sundays until August 14. It has reviewed well.

It includes I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair (a variation of which was made into a shampoo commercial some years ago), the title of this piece, and one of the most important songs in all of musical theater history, You've Got to Be Carefully Taught.

On a Carousel

Music playing in my head: The Hollies

I'm sure you ALL know that Binghamton, NY, my hometown, is "America's Carousel Capital". In the Binghamton area, there are six, count 'em, six, olde-fashioned merry-go-rounds. And the admission is FREE (or perhaps one piece of litter to place in a nearby trash can.) Travelers make a point to go to all half dozen. Bicyclers have been known to ride from park to park in order to ride all of them in one day; there's about 20 miles of bike riding involved in that endeavor.

The New York State Museum in Albany also has a carousel. It's a historic merry-go-round purchased over a quarter century ago, refurbished, and now made available to the general public. A $1 donation is requested.

Lydia has been on her first two merry-go-round rides in the past couple weeks in a period of three days. On a Saturday evening, we went to one of the Binghamton-area rides (actually in west Endicott). Unfortunately, it closed early, so it was the last ride of the evening. Actually, it was the last TWO rides, for the operator failed to turn on the music for what she announced was the last ride, so we got to go again.

Then on a Monday afternoon, we went to the fourth floor of the museum, and caught the last ride on THAT carousel.

We didn't ride the horses (Lydia's a bit young for that, we decided), but she loved the motion of the horses, and the colorful designs. She ESPECIALLY loved the music. That's my girl.

"Round and round and round and round and round
And round and round and round with you.
Up, down, up, down, up, down too."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Three Ramblin' Questions: premiere

Here’s a new feature here at Ramblin’ – it’s called "Three Ramblin’ Questions."
OK, it’s not new. I was inspired by blogger Chris “Lefty” Brown.
OK, I stole Lefty Brown’s idea.

In any case, this month marks the 50th anniversary of "Rock and/or Roll," as a cartoon minister once put it. Rock Around the Clock reached Number 1 on the charts July 9, 1955.
(Yeah, yeah, I know about “Rocket 88” and all that)

About halfway through the Rock and roll era, one (or two) of my favorite songs about rock and roll came out on Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps album. (And neither do I 'cause it's too darn hot.)

So, please tell me:

1. Will rock and roll ever die, or is rock and roll here to stay?

2. Is it better to burn out, or to fade away?

3. What king or queen of music is gone but not forgotten? (Gone means left this mortal coil, not a downturn in the career.)

BONUS QUESTION: I'll be doing this feature:

a. Every week, religiously.

b. As the muse strikes.

c. Whenever I'm pressed for time.

RM-Special Music Edition

While my ukulele gently weeps with audio/video. Actually quite good, I think, despite the web address. (Thanks, BG.)
***
The great thing about Albany is FREE music in the summertime. So far, we've had, among others, Ruben Blades, Mary Wilson and Sam Bush at Alive at Five with Little Feat, Leon Russell, and Terrence Simien still to come. At The Plaza had a two-day BluesFest with Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland and many others; and Black 47; Forthcoming: the Lovin’ Spoonful and Grand Funk Railroad with the Edgar Winter Band. I've seen NONE of the musicians that have performed so far, and I am not sure if I'll get the chance to see the artists that are still to come. Nuts.
***
I got this e-mail from Amazon touting their "10th Anniversary Hall of Fame musicians, whose CDs have sold the largest number of copies at Amazon.com in the seven years since Amazon began selling music in 1998". The list is pretty obvious, you'd think:
The Beatles,U2, Norah Jones, Diana Krall are the top 4. 6-10 are Frank Sinatra, Santana, Enya, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. The rest of the top 25 you'd all know. But who is it at #5? Eva Cassidy. Eva Cassidy?
***
I was having lunch with my friend Mary and we were talking about Van Morrison. I noted that "Jackie Wilson Says" was on St. Dominic's Preview. She contended otherwise and bet me $5. People, PLEASE don't bet with me. I can be/have been wrong about a LOT of things in my life, but when I put money up, it just doesn't happen.
***
I received this link with audio of an Itzhak Perlman performance on three strings.
***
Rapp on This: Lawyer Paul Rapp, a/k/a Lee Harvey Blotto, the drummer from the legendary Albany band Blotto, always has something sage to say about intellectual property and the arts.
***
"Les Paul Celebrating 90th Birthday With New Album"
90 years on this planet and still jammin !
Les Paul is the Inventor of the solid body guitar and muiltitrack recording as well as a master of his instrument. Happy Birthday Les !

Guitar legend Les Paul will celebrate his 90th birthday with his first new studio album since 1978's "Guitar Monsters," a collaboration with Chet Atkins. Les Paul & Friends' "American Made, World Played" is due Aug. 30 via Capitol/EMI.

The album will boast such collaborations as "Love Sneakin' Up on You" with Sting and Joss Stone, "Fly Like an Eagle" with Steve Miller, Eric Clapton on "Somebody Ease My Troublin' Mind," Jeff Beck on "Good News," ZZ Top's Billy F. Gibbons on "Bad Case of Lovin' You" and Buddy Guy, Keith Richards and Rick Derringer on "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl."

I only do such blatant commercial plugs when the artist is at least 88.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

JEOPARDY! Part 8

Continued from Saturday, July 9.

Given that mental and emotional breakdown in the JEOPARDY! round, I’m not that far off the lead, only $800. While they set up the Double JEOPARDY! board, more water, more powder for the forehead.

The categories are Brahmins, The Untouchables, Television, Put ‘Em In Order, This Is Your Life – Woodrow Wilson, and Literary Crosswords “M”. Well, television should be OK, and maybe Wilson, but this is not looking great.

I start with Television for $200, get Frasier.

Television for $400-the first of the two Daily Doubles! And it’s a Video.

Score Tom $2100, Roger $2200, Amy $2800.

OK, if I bet enough, and get it right, I can take the lead for the first time! I can say, "I held the lead once!" I bet $1200. (If I get it WRONG, I’ll still have the value of the highest clue on the board.)

Jason Alexander (from Seinfeld) says on screen: "This actor co-starred with me on a sitcom called "E/R" before starring in the medical seies "E.R."

So what do YOU think?

I actually watched the earlier show, which starred Elliot Gould, and I also read about it in People magazine after the latter show began.

"Who was George Clooney?"
"You guessed right," Alex said. It wasn’t a guess.

Then Amy started taking off, getting several responses. I managed to get a couple in Crosswords (including Mohicans), and three under Wilson: his wife Edith ($200), his general John Pershing ($400), and his socialist nemesis Eugene Debs ($800) - that answer somehow came right out of high school social studies.

I put some Popes in order for $400.
Then I pick the $600 clue in that category. It's the OTHER Daily Double!
With the furious back and forth, I was genuinely surprised to find that I was leading: Tom $4100, Roger $7400, Amy $7000. Put ‘Em in Order: the category made me nervous. It could be ANYTHING. If it were Chinese dynasties, I’m sunk. I bet a conservative $1000.

"Oklahoma statehood, California statehood, Nebraska statehood."

What's your guess?

There was this map in my Social Studies class in 5th or 7th grade. It showed the country sometime before the Civil War. All the states were in green, the territories in brown. Incongruously, past this vast expanse of territories starting in the Midwest, California was also in green.

So one thing I knew: California became a state in 1850, the year after the Gold Rush. Oklahoma became a state in the 20th Century; if you’ve seen or heard the musical, you probably know that- actually 1907.
When did Nebraska become a state? Suddenly the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 flashed in my mind; I had no idea what it meant. In any case, I said, "California statehood, Nebraska statehood, Oklahoma statehood." That was correct. Nebraska didn't become a state until 1867, but no matter.

I only get a couple more right, but one was pivotal to the game.

Brahmins for $800 was asking for the first prime minister of India. Amy said Gandhi, which was incorrect. I rang in, and suddenly thought, "Oh, no, I'm wrong." My first idea was that it was Nehru, but then I recalled, no, no, he was in the 1960s. Remember the Nehru jacket? But, having nothing better to say, I replied: "Who was Nehru?" and it was correct. ( Nehru was a long-time leader. )

That was a $1600 swing late in the game. If she had gotten it right, I would have had $8800 and Amy, $9200. But instead, at the end of Double JEOPARDY!, it’s Tom $5100, Roger $9600, Amy $8400. The Final JEOPARDY! category is World Capitals. What should I bet and what will they ask?

Continued on Saturday, July 23

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rove Must Go 2

The RNC says that the "extreme left is attempting to define the modern Democrat[ic] party by rabid partisan attacks, character assassination and endless negativity." Actually those last three phrases seem to describe Karl Rove!

It Appears That Karl Rove Is In Serious Trouble, by John W. Dean, who knows something of Presidential scandals.

Rove Leak is Just Part of Larger Scandal By Daniel Schorr, who covered that Presidential scandal Dean knows so well. (The Christian Science Monitor)

What W REALLY calls Rove

At the Movies w/ Carol & Roger

I had this old girlfriend to whom I used to say, "She’s tidied up and I can’t FIND anything!" This used to bug her. A LOT. I don’t know if it was because I said it a lot, because I referred to her in the third person, or because she didn’t like Thomas Dolby.

So, I don’t say that to my wife Carol. I may THINK it, but I don’t SPEAK it. In the past month, I realized that I have been missing my baseball glove, my binoculars, and this great pair of sandals that I bought in Barbados in 1999. I knew where all of them WERE, but not their current whereabouts, and I made sure to let her know that. Then, last week, I looked in my armoire, and there were my baseball glove and my binoculars! When Carol wanted to clear out the guest room, she asked me to find another place for them, and I must have forgotten? Oops. (Anyway, they’re BACK in the guest room, where I can find them NEXT time. Don’t tell her.)

Carol and I saw TWO movies in two days this week! Maybe that’s not such an event in YOUR household, and two years ago, it wouldn’t have been such an event in OUR household, but it sure the heck is now. We opted against seeing Fantastic Four, since Carol is unfamiliar with the characters; Johnny Storm is the name of the character, not the actor. (But to get links to more FF reviews than you’re ever likely to read, go see "ol’ reliable Fred" - July 13).

I took a day off work on Monday after the reunion. Lydia went to day care. We went to see a matinee of Cinderella Man, the story of boxer James J. Braddock. I think it’s very hard telling a story like this where the outcome is already known, at least by me. When I was a kid, I could name probably every heavyweight champion from John L. Sullivan to Muhammad Ali. Of course, that was in the day when there was but one sanctioning body, not three or four.

If I say that Ron Howard is a competent filmmaker, it sounds like being damned with faint praise, but I don’t mean it to be so. Cinderella Manis more a story about a man who happens to box for a living, because we see the man behind the boxer as well. If it is not The Best Boxing Movie Ever Made (that would be Raging Bull), it is a well-made film about a very good man and his family. That it doesn’t descend to a maudlin weepie is undoubtedly a function of the direction, the script, and the acting of Russell Crowe, teamed up with Howard again after the award-winning A Beautiful Mind. Some of the fight scenes were realistically bloody, and Carol (and, OK, I) did turn away for a moment or two. I think the mediocre box office has been a function of 1) the subject matter (which doesn't grab either a lot of teens or a lot of women, I understand), and 2) the title, which makes sense if you see the movie or are 75, but is confusing otherwise. Too bad.

My wife is a teacher of English as a Second Language. If you’re a teacher, or work with children, or are a parent, or are thinking about becoming a parent, or are a citizen concered about the welfare of children, you should see Mad Hot Ballroom, as we did Tuesday night, thanks to our marvelous new babysitter. (This means you, Mrs. Lefty.) For about a decade, there has been a 10-week curriculum in ballroom dancing in the schools of New York City. Last year, I saw a segment on CBS Sunday Morning about P.S. 144 in Queens, which participated in (and won) a citywide competition of 5th graders in the tango, fox trot, merenge, et al.

The movie is based on the same competition a year later, but it focuses on three schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The kids are from a wide range of cultures. I enjoyed listening to some of the preternaturally wise girls, especially Emma, and watching the boys, who find that touching girls isn’t THAT awful. Many of the teachers are men, and it shows how important those male role models are to the boys. It’s a film of hope and inspiration in the midst of poverty.

All in all, a pretty good way to start to celebrate Carol’s birthday week. Today is THE day. BTW, over the past weekend, she went up to the attic and found the sandals (which SHE buried up there, so you know.) And we're going to celebrate by going to see Arena Football? Really. We got free tickets, and the regular season ends this weekend, and the Albany team isn't going to get into the playoffs, and I've always wanted to go...

Happy birthday, Carol. I love you.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

USA News

I’ve been musing over the London bombing fall week. Not about why. One of my fellow bloggers, Greg Burgas has an interesting theory on that. He’s kidding. Sorta.

It’s more about what is news and why do we respond the way we do. It was the late House speaker Tip O’Neill that famously said: "All politics is local." And in THIS country, it seems that almost all NEWS is local. Oh, yeah, there’s an international segment in the broadcast, but it’s so often about OUR soldier in Iraq or OUR local celebrity. When Ismail Merchant of Merchant-Ivory films fame died, it was a LOCAL story in the local paper, because Merchant had a farm in nearby Columbia County. (Two mentions of Columbia County in three days. Gads.) Of course, it does not always have to be positive. The Houston trucker who transported illegal immigrants in his vehicle, several of whom died, is a local story because he used to live in Schenectady.

Some guy I read was complaining, and this is a heavy-duty paraphrase, "London was bombed. Why is the second lead, 'Is America next?' Why is it always about us?"

If someone conducted a poll, and the responses were honest, I’m betting that the 7/7 bombing in London was more palpable to most Americans than...let’s take a comparable example, the 3/11 bombing in Madrid last year. Both attacks likely the work of the same organization, and twice as many people died in Spain than in Great Britain. So why IS that? Is it because the Brits speak our language? (Actually, we speak THEIR language, but let’s not complicate things here.) Is it because of our common heritage? (They’re more like US.)

I remember seeing a story on ABC News about a young black woman of 22 who disappeared in Illinois, and her mother, who was NOT well spoken, trying to get the media involved in her disappearance. Her mother was told, "No, she’s 22. NO one would be interested." Then Dru Sjodin, 22-year old blonde student from North Dakota goes missing and it’s national news. Indeed, now there’s Dru’s Law, the National Sex Offender Public Database Act of 2005 being offered up in Congress. Meanwhile, I don’t even remember the name of that young black woman or know whether she was ever found. Was it that Dru Sjodin looked more like US (well, not me specifically...)

Bam, Iran was destroyed by an earthquake on December 26, 2003. The initial reports said that 30,000 were killed, later upped to 43,000. It barely made two news cycles. I had initially thought that the reason that the Christmastime tsunami of 2004 was so newsworthy, long before anyone knew the death toll, was because there were so many people with video cameras showing the devastation, and that may be true. But inevitably, there were those stories about how Americans and people like US who lost their lives, because we can RELATE to them.

Indeed, there have been floods in Bangladesh and China over the past 40 years that have taken more lives than the tsunami, but that barely hit our consciousness, if at all. Maybe it was also the novelty of the tsunami. Or maybe it’s that news people like to say "tsunami" and hope that the graphics department spells it correctly.

Why Laci Peterson and not other victims of violent crimes has something to do, I'm told, with identification with Laci - heck, we call her by her by her first name, as though we KNEW her.

When I’m close to the border with Canada and watch the CBC news, it seemed to be more...balanced. When I watched the news in Barbados in 1999, the same thing- a greater awareness of the whole world picture.

How is it that the Great Melting Pot can be so xenophobic? I ask, not out of anger, but out of concern.

(I always hate posing questions that I really can't answer.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

RSE

I'm excited/nervous about the Discovery launch today. I didn't sleep so well because my subconscious was thinking on that, because it's hot again, and because I haven't played racquetball all week. I have what's known as "tennis elbow". I have an ailment named after a sport I don't even play. They should call it "racquet sport elbow", or RSE, to also cover badminton and squash; I doubt most people will call it lateral epicondylitis, mostly because most of us can't even pronounce it, let alone spell it.

Pop's Death

I wrote a little about my grandfather’s life a couple weeks ago. Here’s something about his death. Most of this is from the recovered diaries. I was living in Albany by that time, while Pop was still in Binghamton.

Thursday 6/26/1980: My father [who was living in Charlotte, NC] called to tell me pop died. He sounded incredibly like a newscaster reporting it. Apparently, the landlord hadn’t seen Pop in a couple days, so he got the police to get a search warrant. He was DOA at the hospital {I was first told.]

My real regret is that in my 5½ photo albums, I don’t have one picture of him. Pictures tell a kind of history, which is increasingly important to me.

Called Betty [family friend in Vestal, near Binghamton, with husband and five kids] and asked to crash at her place Saturday night. She had received a call from my father this a.m.

[My sister] Leslie is coming to the funeral [from California.] I haven’t been to [a funeral] in 10 years, and I haven’t been to one where I really cared about the person since 1966.

Saturday 6/28: Spent $15.50 for roundtrip ticket to Binghamton – outrageous! After taking with Betty on the phone, I went to the wake. Pop died Tuesday but wasn’t found until Thursday, necessitating a closed casket, a fact I was grateful for. Dad arranged a wreath around the picture of him on the wall, which says "The Pride of Bloomsburg, Pa.", [his hometown.] Lots of flowers, particularly from WBNG-TV people [WNBF-TV changed its call letters], who were in abundance at the wake. [My sisters reminded me that one of the arrangements was a wreath in the shape of a horseshoe, probably arranged by my father, in recognition of his love for the ponies.] Also present were [list of many friends and relatives], all people I had not seen in a long time. One man was bawling his eyes out, an old bowling buddy of Pop’s...

After a discussion on the problems of Veterans Benefits for burial rights (he fought in WWI but kept no records), and playing with RJ [Becky, Leslie’s daughter], Mom & Dad took me down crowded downtown Binghamton. (BC Pops and fireworks.) [I always thought these, in some cosmic way, were for Pop. Why it was incumbent for US to prove my grandfather’s veteran’s status, instead of checking with the VA to confirm that status, is now lost on me.]

Sunday, 6/29: Mom & Dad called, asked me to seek out a trailer. After striking out with U-Haul, Betty contacted a Mobil station on Vestal Parkway, from which we got a truck. [We all eat at a diner.] Follow Dad to Binghamton, where we discover that the very items we got the truck for, a couple blond dressers and other various items, including his coins, are gone.

Dad was very angry, tho’ he tried hard not to show it, and Leslie called the police. The items were present Friday night. It was clear that it had to be a 2- (or more) person job...

Sorting thru his personal effects, looking for discharge papers. (The scent of the bedroom slowly made me ill.) I found obscure items like his failure to pay his 1957 state taxes and court appearances so attached; a letter that I wrote to him some years ago ripped in two (which was how I felt about it when I saw it); and various & sundry pictures, 2 of which I will [and I subsequently did] get made into prints...

At the funeral, I saw lots of Dad’s relatives... Pop’s brother and sister were there too. The service...was pleasantly brief.

[Subsequently, a couple neighbors were arrested for the crime.]

Well, that’s pretty much all I wrote. I can’t believe I TOTALLY FORGOT about the robbery. Maybe, my mind decided to hold on to the GOOD things.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Brickman art criticism 3

My bud David Brickman will be doing his third art criticism spot on WAMC (90.3 fm) Thursday, July 14 at 10:07 a.m.

The topic will be Frederic Church at the Fenimore Art Museum.

By the way, for the out-of-towners it is possible to listen online at WAMC Live only - not archived.

Mother Truckin'...

I’m really ticked off.

One of my in-laws didn’t make the reunion last week because she was in a car accident. Last Wednesday, July 6, she was driving on Route 66 in Columbia County, NY taking her mother to the doctor’s office in Chatham. It’s a two-lane road.

Suddenly, a big vehicle is heading right towards her going about 75 in a 50 m.p.h. zone. Initially, she thinks it’s an oil tanker, but she is later told by witnesses that it was a cement truck. The truck driver had passed four or five cars in a row and could not pull back into his lane. My in-law could not head for the shoulder for fear of hitting the guardrail.

Even as the truck breaks in a futile 200-foot skid, my in-law notes that the guardrail suddenly ends, so she pulls off the road down a six-foot embankment. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, though understandably shaken. The truck driver doesn’t stop, but keeps on going.

The estimated damage to the car is $2100. And that's just the visible, exterior damage.

Now I’ll tell you why I’m REALLY ticked off:

The deputy sheriff shows up and takes a report, but doesn’t seem all that interested in the details of the accident until the family nags him repeatedly. The Sheriff’s office has been very uncooperative with my in-law’s insurance company, not being forthcoming with any of the information that was obtained from the witnesses at the scene. One of my other in-laws theorizes that the Sheriff, who is running for reelection, does not want to upset the rich and powerful cement company. Seems cynical. It also sounds plausible.

I’m not one who is overly litigious, but if it were my call (and it’s not), I’d at least threaten the cement company with a lawsuit.

So, if you happen to have seen anything last Wednesday morning on Route 66 in Columbia County that fits this general description please e-mail me, even if you spoke to the Sheriff’s Department. ESPECIALLY if you spoke to the Sheriff’s Department. And if you didn’t, thanks for letting me vent..

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rove Must Go

In Rogerland, Karl Rove quits the W White House, or preferably, he is fired (which would break poor Georgie’s heart.)

In Rogerland, Karl Rove is indicted for outing CIA operative Valerie Plame, which Robert Novak prints.

In Rogerland, leaky Novak retires in shame.

Will the real world coincide with Rogerland? TIME, and its reporter, will tell. (But jailed reporter Judith Miller of the New York Times will not, bless her "Freedom of the Press" heart...)

Give up?

I got this e-mail from a friend last month. I called him back that weekend and tried to give him some encouraging words, like a couple W political losses at that time. But I'm not certain how well I did. Do YOU folks have some ideas?

You know, I actually don't know anyone else I could discuss this meaningfully with; most of my friends are either apolitical or cynical to the point of absurdist caricature (with some nihilism thrown in for that extra value added).

At what point do we give up?

As I do every [public radio] fund drive, I donate $100, and heck, I get a CD out of it...Maurice Hinchey on the History of War with Iraq, Scott Ritter on the Myth of WMD in Iraq. This time, there is Bill Moyers' address to the National Press Club at which he reads from Orwell, and talks about the evolution of journalism into consensus-forming rather than investigative reporting.

Then, since I now have cable Internet, I can watch video feeds, and caught William Rivers Pitt of Truthout addressing the Progressive Democrats of America (who, since I've become aware of the Congressional caucus of them, I tend to think of as "Green Democrats").

Then I thought of a birthday card you sent me shortly after we graduated from college, and it said "It's You and Me Against the World..." and inside, "...and frankly, I think we're gonna be crushed."

Amidst my disgust and rage at the corporate masters and the Fundie Dominionists, a voice keeps popping up in my head saying "Your side has LOST." And much of the evidence seems to point to that. Our belief, and social progress we've been made, appears under shock & awe attack on, well, just about EVERY front that is important to me.

And I do love my country and the founding principles, but when does one cut and run? 'Cuz it's not just me. I've got a family to consider, and I don't want my child to grow up in this sort of Empire. And Canada, far from a perfect utopia (seal pups and native Americans, and Roman Catholicism, after all), is at least not a warmongering imperialist, their culture is not alien, and the border is so close...

I'm gritting my teeth and will try to endure thru the 2006 elections (but I really don't know if I can vote for Hillary again, even if I hold my nose), but if the fix is in, or the Cows just stand around chewing their cuds...well, THEY may deserve the slaughterhouse they will be lead to. But WE don't.

Any words of wisdom? 'cuz I'm tapped out, my friend.

Peace,

Send profound (or mundane) observations to me, please. Because, while I'm not at my friend's point, I surely know what he means.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Roots

In the fall of 1678, a 14-year old cabin boy named John Olin, who had been forced into service on the British ship Man-O-War, jumped ship in Boston harbor, swam ashore, stealthily traveled inland for about a week, and ended up in the care of the Narragansett Indians for eight years. He became an indentured servant to a Samuel Gorton until 1700, when he became a freeman. John married Susannah Spencer on October 4, 1708, (Was she one of THOSE Spencers from which Lady Di came? Maybe.) and had four known children, Joseph, John, Henry and Eleanor. Or so it is generally believed.

[For the next paragraph, there may be other children, but they’re not relevant to this particular discussion. The numbers indicate generation.]
Joseph Olin (2) begat Joseph Olin or Olden (3), who begat Reuben Olin (4), [this is starting to sound like Matthew, Chapter 1] who begat John Olin (5), who begat Earl Olin (6), who begat Orva Lee Olin (7), [or maybe the first third of 1st Chronicles] who begat George Omar Olin (8). George married Leona G. Ruland, and they had 8 children (all of whom are still alive, BTW), the sixth of whom was Ann Joyce (9). Joyce married Richard Powell and had four children, the second of whom is Carol Ann (10). Carol married Roger Green (hey, that’s me!) and had a daughter Lydia (11).

So, on Lydia’s maternal grandmother’s side, we can trace Lydia’s heritage 10 generations back. I know this in large part because Carol’s uncle, and Joyce’s eldest sibling, Warren, has written not one, but two volumes of 300 Years of Joseph Olin and His Descendents, edited by Joyce.

I’ve found the first volume of Warren's book listed in the Mormon library. The Mormons are really into genealogy, incidentally, because of their belief in one's status in the afterlife. (The link to which I've misplaced.)

The branches of the Olin family in New York/Pennsylvania (Binghamton), Ohio (Ashtabula), Ontario, and Washington state have held reunions for decades. They've also decided to have international reunions once every five years, in Fargo, ND (all right, I hear all those Frances McDormand imitations!), 1996; Binghamton, 2001; and somewhere in Washington state, 2006. The annual Binghamton reunion is this weekend.

On my maternal grandmother’s side, I was able to go back only five generations, to the early 1800s. Unfortunately, my information was lost on a computer that was replaced last year. Fortunately, a family Bible is still around and a cousin of mine has done some work in this area.

Prior to Roots, many black people avoided seeking out their lineage, for fear that they would run into their slave history, but Alex Haley's portrayals (and the powerful miniseries that followed) changed this dynamic tremendously expanding what was possible for people of all races and ethnicities.

For more on the roots of the Olins, go here.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

JEOPARDY! Part 7

Continued from Saturday, July 2

I’m standing at the middle lectern between Tom, the one-day champion with $10,500, and Amy, wishing I could be back in my red sneakers rather than these suddenly uncomfortable shoes. The lights come up on my face.

Alex comes out. I’ve noticed that some of the contestants in the past have applauded him, but none of us did. Too "Wheel of Fortune," maybe. The host, still with his trademark moustache, announces that this is the LARGEST studio audience ever to see JEOPARDY! (Gee, thanks a lot.) Then he notes that the longer he talks, the less time there is for us to win money. (Well, thank you for THAT.)

The categories were Mountains; Songs by the Numbers; Old Testament Women; The Brady Bunch; Beans; and Body Talk. I’m thinking that I’ll be strongest at Songs, OT Women and Mountains, in that order.

Songs for $100 – I know that! But so did Tom- 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Songs for $200- the song that spent 16 weeks at #1. First thought, One Fine Day, no, wait that’s not it. I OWN this song. It’s by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. What’s the title? No one got One Sweet Day.
Sidebar: a variation on this question came up a couple years later during the Regismania version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - The song longest at #1. It was a $250,000 clue. The contestant picked I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (which was correct at the time, in 1993), and lost all but $32,000. Talk about screaming at one’s TV set!

Songs for $300-Amy beats me to Knock Three Times.
A couple more questions go by that I know but don’t get the opportunity to answer.
Then Brady Bunch for $200- Like lots of JEOPARDY! categories, this one is a bit misleading. It has NOTHING to do with the 1969-1974 TV show, which is good, because I NEVER saw it in first run, and only rarely in syndication. The category was about people named Brady.
"Unlike his horse, his sidekick, Pat Brady isn’t mounted for display." I ring in first: "What is Roy Rogers?" Alex replies, "WHO is Roy Rogers?" and I nod, but the answer is CORRECT. This means that I will not go on JEOPARDY! then answer no questions. Of course, the only reason that the others didn’t get it, I figure, is that they’re both too young to REMEMBER Roy Rogers. Ah an advantage of age.
I get a couple more, as does Tom, but Amy seems to be in control.

At the first commercial, it’s Tom $800, Roger $1100, Amy $1900. However long the commercials are at home is how long there are in the studio. I got some water, but again, couldn’t keep it. Jennifer had to re-powder my forehead because I was "shiny."

While one sees the scores in front of the players when watching on TV, the players here don’t have such luxury. If the scoreboard is at 12 o’clock, and Alex at 1, then the scoreboard is at 10:30. I never saw it except at the daily doubles and the first commercials, and at the end of the rounds.

The interview segment: Alex asks about my music collection,. I note that I had 1200 LPs, 1000 CDs and a couple hundred cassettes. He asked if I had any specialties, and I replied, "I have an extensive Beatles collection." Wasn’t a riveting piece, but it was OK.

During the practice session, we were told they would be using a lot of video clues. There was a $200 clue in the Beans category. The monitor seemed about a light year away. I squinted and said Orson Bean, which was correct. (Later, one of the contestants who had not yet played said that he didn’t want to play me because of THAT answer.)

So we get to Old Testament Women, one of the categories I expect to do well in.
$100- Delilah which Amy got.
$200- for reasons unclear, I said Delilah! I KNEW it was Bathsheba but the brain just picked up Amy’s response.
She asked for OT Women for $300 and I’m still literally shaking my head, beating myself up for this gaffe. "Roger!" I intoned to myself. "Come back to the game!" I never even heard that clue, and I KNEW the answer was Jezebel. But no one else got it, either. The mortification finally passed and I did get the $500 clue, which was Sarah.

Tom hits the Daily Double in Mountains, bets $900, but misses it. However, he comes back. The score after the JEOPARDY! round, Tom $2100, Roger $2000, Amy $2800.

Alex says, "Roger, you’ll go first in Double JEOPARDY!"

Continued on Saturday, July 16