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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina


I have nothing particularly pithy to say. New Orleans, which thought it had dodged a bullet, is devastated by weather, infrastructure failure and human behavior. The gulf states are facing damage in terms of life and property that we won't really know the extent of for days, as officials frantically try to rescue what's salvageable. So, I've decided, and maybe you'll decide, to donate to the Red Cross.

So, how to do this that might work to maximize the effort among folks reading this? How about this: I will give $1 to the Red Cross for every person going to my blog - they don't even have to read it, though obviously I wish they would - between now and the end of Labor Day (Monday) at 10 pm EDT. (The counter is at 144.) The challenge is for every blogger and web person to do something similar. The need is extraordinary.

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Larry

NAME: Larry Young (with Charlie Allard and Matt Smith)
BLOG NAME: AiT/PlanetLar
NAME OF CD: Astronauts in Trouble
NUMBER OF CUTS: 20
RUNNING TIME: 51:38 (the first CD I received that was shorter than mine)
COVER ART: Label
SONG LIST:
1. Prof. Hawking’s Channel Seven Promo: The World’s Smartest Man Watches Channel 7 (talk)
2. 21st Century Newscast: We Will Rock You Bipartisan Mix-EBN
3. Hayescorp Command Center: Apollo 11 Mission Control, Houston (talk)
4. AiT/TMP Opening Titles: Sing Sing Sing (with a Swing)-Louis Prima
5. In the Newsvan Tapedeck: Bad Astronaut-James Kolchaka
6. Re-Align the Low-Gain: Turn It On-the Flaming Lips
7. Heck’s Got a Hangover: Absurd- http://www.absurdfluke.com/ Fluke
8. The Moon from Inside of a Spacesuit: Oye Como Va-Santana
9. Neil and Buzz: Tranquility Base 20 July 1969 (talk)
10. Pepperoni Pizza Nightmares: Dean’s Dream-the Dead Milkmen
11. Float Me Another One: Feelin Existential-Mojo Nixon
12. Cry Me to the Moon: St. Cajetan-Cracker
13. Static, Baby-Open Frequency- http://www.sharpeworld.com/marcy/pages/article.html Dr Zomb’s Stereo Obscura
14. Annie’s Suit Radio: Greetings to the New Brunette-Billy Bragg
15. The Cows Go In: Ring of Fire-Johnny Cash
16. Home Box Office: Tom Hanks Apollo 13 (talk)
17. Not Enough Coffee to Go Around: Fade to Black-Dire Straits
18. AiT;TMP End Credits: Hi Side-the Mad Capsule Markets
19. Doomsday Plus One: Press conference-President Ronald Reagan Talk)
20. Hot Mike: Canon Help Desk-Troubleshooting (talk)
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on August 24
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Not only did I get a CD, I (and all of the other participants) received a book. An interesting mix of talk and music, not surprising space-related.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: All the talk snippets except the last; 3-I have a couple Benny Goodman versions, but was unfamiliar with the Prima doing it; 12-17 (I own the last three song tracks).
ON THE OTHER HAND: 7-some sort of techno-grunge that would have been OK in a short piece, but the 6-minute track felt like twice that long. 20- wasn't prepared for the obscenity-laden tirade.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: 5 is naughty, 10 has F-bomb but it’s down so much in the mix, I nearly missed it. 20-that’s a big time no.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: I’m looking forward to the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, this fall.

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Logan

NAME: Logan Polk
BLOG NAME: House of the Ded
NAME OF CD: The Ded Mix Vol. 2-Songs I Know By Heart
NUMBER OF CUTS: 19
RUNNING TIME: 76:59
COVER ART: Typed
SONG LIST:
1. Anyway-Dynamite Hack
2. Screaming Infidelities-Dashboard Confessionals
3. Now That It’s Over-Everclear
4. One Thing-Finger Eleven
5. Superhero Girl-Eve 6
6. Someday We’ll Know-New Radicals
7. Songs About Rain-Gary Allen
8. C’mon C’mon-Sheryl Crow
9. Always on My Mind-Phantom Planet
10. I Can’t Stand Losing You-Blue Flannel
11. Everything to Everyone-Everclear
12. Long Drive Home-John Oszajca
13. Solitude-Edwin McCain & Darius Rucker
14. She Talks to Angels-the Black Crowes
15. Stepping Stone-the Monkees
16. Lonely of Faith-Kid Rock
17. Recollection Phoenix-Willie Nelson
18. Walls-Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
19. ???????-???????
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on June 30
GENERAL THOUGHTS: These things don’t HAVE to start with a rocker, but it usually a good formula; no exception here. The album bounces back and forth between rockin’ and more mid-tempo stuff.
Most of these songs I DON'T know by heart- only the Heartbreakers, Crow, Black Crowes, and Monkees; hmm, some sort of animal theme developing. The disc has introduced me to people I might have heard of or even caught on the radio, but the DJs almost NEVER announce the performer anymore. So, Logan has broadened my horizons.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: 1, 6, 7 (esp. the chorus), 9, 10 (esp. lyrics), 11, the quirky horn of 12, 16 (oh, no, I like a Kid Rock song).
ON THE OTHER HAND: Nothing really. I just didn’t really get engaged in the disc until the second quarter. Oh, and the completist in me needs to know what/who is on track 19.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: F*** in 1, 3, 5, S*** in 12
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED:

I have had an irrational addiction to the Petty song since I heard it on the "She the One" soundtrack.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Low A


Dear Mr. Will:

I am a big fan of your baseball stories, such as the one that appeared in our local paper the Times Union (Albany, NY) this week. We too have a team that plays in a stadium called the Joe, named for Joseph Bruno, the Majority Leader of the State Senate.

The team is the Tri-City Valley Cats in the New York-Penn League, playing out of Troy, NY. This is a single A , short season (roughly Father’s Day to Labor Day) . In our league, there is the Staten Island Yankees, an affiliate, of course, of the NYY.

You described your team as “low A”. I inferred (and I think others will as well) that it is the “lowest A”, which I don’t believe it is. The short season A I believe to be on the lowest rung. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Thank you.
Roger Green

Dear Mr. Green,

Thank you for contacting the office of George F. Will. Mr. Will is thankful to have actively engaged readers like yourself. In single-A ball, there is class A-advanced, class A and class A-short season. The column used class A low (also used by minor league officials and the RiverDogs staff) to distinguish the level from class A-advanced. You may access a list of all the minor league teams by classification via [this site] Thank you for your readership and have a nice day.

Best Wishes,
Office of George F. Will

I learn something new every day. I suppose I should note that I agree with George Will on most baseball things, but not usually political things.
***
And re: the Little League World Series final, it was a great game. Since I wasn't going to be home Sunday, I taped the ABC broadcast and watched it later, making sure not to hear the score.
It was a great game. The Curacao pitcher walked the first three Hawai'i batters, and then the relief pitcher struck out two and got another out without giving up a run. The scoring went back and forth. Hawai'i was down by three in the bottom of the sixth (the last scheduled inning), but rallied to score three to force the first extra innings game in about 35 years.
ABC then sent the game to ESPN2. Since I wasn't home, I missed the dramatic 7th-inning home run that won the game for Hawai'i. Sigh.

Monday, August 29, 2005

No Satisfaction



"It's a one-in-a-lifetime thing!"
"Yeah, but the money, the time away from the family, the hassle, the traffic."

Oh, sorry, I was just rehashing the debate I was having with myself a couple weeks ago when I read, on the front page of the Albany Times Union, that the Rolling Stones were coming to Albany, NY, maybe three blocks from where I work, on September 19.

On one hand, it's the Rolling Stones!
On the other hand, the tickets started at $60, and I'm sure those seats would have required balls of cotton to stop the nosebleed, not to mention binoculars. So, I would have wanted the $100 seats. Wife Carol showed no interest in going, so it would have been a night that I'd be off while she had to stay home. this would require some sort of later trade-off.

But it's the Rolling @#$%^&* Stones! With Alanis Morissette opening, it was recently announced.
The (Naming Rights Sold to a Soft-Drink Company) Arena was doing that "get in line for the wristband on a Friday so that you would be eligible to buy a ticket on Saturday" thing. What a pain. Moreover, that all took place a weekend I was out of town anyway.
On the other hand, my student intern was going to go get tickets ANYWAY for her and her MOTHER and her mother's boyfriend. (Why does that make me feel just slightly OLD?) And there was an 8-ticket maximum, so I could have given her the money to buy one more. Oh, but she didn't get any, either, because while she was early in line for the wristbands, they started with a "random number" that came AFTER hers. (She said she would rather have slept in the ticket line overnight, rather than go through that frustrating ordeal.)

One of the things that I read recently made seeing the Stones more interesting. On their upcoming album, A Bigger Bang, they reportedly have a song with the lyrics:
You call yourself a Christian,
I call you a hypocrite.
You call yourself a patriot,
Well, I think you're full of s***.
How come you're so wrong,
My sweet neo-con?

Will they play the song? And if so, what will be the reaction?

Well, it's all moot now, unless I win a ticket in the contest offered by the Berkshire Bank (located just downstairs from my office), or unless I want to buy a $351 ticket ($1 more than the previous highest ticket sold at the venue.) If spending $100 brought me pause...
***
And speaking of the Rolling Stones, there's a new album of jazz covers of their tunes, called The Rolling Stones Project. It features:
Norah Jones-Wild Horses
Bill Frisell-Waiting on a Friend
Sheryl Crow (with Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Charlie Watts!) -Slipping Away
John Scofielfd-Satisfaction
Bill Charlap-Paint it, Black
It's reviewed pretty well, FWIW. I could buy THAT album, plus A Bigger Bang, AND insure domestic tranquility.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mini-Ramble

Working on the theory that there is a finite number of hours in a day, I didn't get a chance to do links this week, save for these:

I knew SOMETHING was up when I saw cars stopped in front of my house a full block from the main intersection of Allen and Madison. At first, I figured that it was an accident, but as I headed to the Price Chopper supermarket, I found that it was a bank robbery at the Trustco, where hostages were taken, just two blocks from my house. The Price Chopper, just beyond the bank, required me to walk nine blocks to get there. When I got home, the helicopter that would pass by occasionally rattled the windows of our house. During the LLWS US championship (won by Hawai'i), Channel 10 interrupted the game three times - in mid-inning!- to announce that there was a situation and that people should avoid driving on that part of Madison Avenue. The Cable News Channel 9 had a scroll, but didn't, in my watching, interrupt its pre-Travers coverage.

A Republican Dictionary. All you Republicans reading this may be deeply offended. Oh, well.

Book: Hendrix avoided Vietnam with gay ruse. This MSNBC story takes a somewhat salacious angle, I think. But if the draft comes back - the cover story in this week's Metroland - what WILL keep one out of the army these days?

Speaking of war, my friend Cecily sent me this: The first and only federal conspiracy trial arising out of civil resistance to the Iraq War begins September 19 in Binghamton, NY. Imagine - in my hometown.

Mark Evanier is the self-appointed tracker of all appearances of the characters in the comic strip Blondie in other comic strips, in advance of the 75th anniversary of Mrs. Bumstead and her family next month.

Today is Jack Kirby's birthday. You don't know who Jack Kirby is? Horrors! Fred Hembeck has a whole bunch of links TODAYso that you can find out.

Remembering Emmett


Emmett Till disappeared 50 years ago today; his mutilated body was found three days later. His mother allowed photos to be taken of his open casket, and the horrifying pictures helped galvanize the Civil Rights movement, including the "I Have a Dream" speech eight years, to the day, later.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I want to know why it is that I can see that photo in my mind’s eye when the event took place when I was but two years old when it took place. I’m guessing that on the fifth anniversary in 1960, Ebony and/or Jet magazines reran the photos, I saw them and the image seared in my mind to this day.

When I was in high school, a bunch of us raised money for some poor, rural folks in Tennessee. One day, I was (foolishly) walking alone down some dirt road down there. I see a sign indicating that I was about to enter the state of Mississippi. I crossed into the new state, then my mind screamed, "Emmett Till!" and I literally jumped back into Tennessee.

In January or February of 1986, I saw the Capitol Repertory Theater's performance of Toni Morrison's Dreaming Emmett, based on his life and death. I don't remember if was particularly well-acted or -written. All I remember was that I felt again the pain that was Emmett.

The last time I saw the picture in print was when his mom, Mamie Till-Mobley, died a couple years ago.

This year, the case has been reopened by the FBI, with a exhumation and re-examination of Emmett's remains, based on advances in DNA testing, followed by a reburial in June. Hope that some day Emmett can rest in peace. And it will give me some measure of peace as well.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Zombie Tom


NAME: Zombie Tom (Collins)
BLOG NAME: Zombie Eat Brains
NAME OF CD: When There's No More Room in Hell, This Mix Will Walk the Earth
NUMBER OF CUTS: 27
RUNNING TIME: 78:29
COVER ART: The ghoul (from the site) was small but effective enough
SONG LIST: His Post of June 15
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on June 30
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Mean old Zombie Tom just forced his way into the Mixed process, probably traumatizing poor Tom the Dog. I really like the concept of this album, probably a little more than the album itself. Having said that, I realize that for what it is, it’s very good at it, sorta like that movie, The Devil’s Reject, directed by Rob...Zombie, whose music permeates this disc. There are five pieces of dialogue not noted, after tracks 4, 11, 15, 19, 22.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The Misfits, the fairly melodic Romero trilogy, Hellbillies, Groovie Ghoulies, Belafonte, Jazz Butcher Conspiracy, plus old friends in new settings: Zombies, Hooters, Katrina, Cranberries, Petty.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Nas. And yes, I was traumatized by Toni Basil. (The Katrina joke I got –sunshine vs. zombies, or something; this one I didn’t.)
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Well, the scream may generate a call to the police. Not Nas for reasons cited on the site.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: FantaCo, where I worked, used to sell a lot of horror books, films, and videos. We also published comics and magazines in the genre, but I read almost none of them.
I have the Rockapella version of Zombie Jamboree.

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Dave G.

Sign of an obsessive personality: I went back to my review (on August 17) of Eddie's disc to make note of Gordon's subsequent review on August 24. No, not obsessive, just a librarian/completist.

NAME: Dave G.
BLOG NAME: Simply Comics
NAME OF CD: Simplemix 1
NUMBER OF CUTS: 22
RUNNING TIME: 72:34
COVER ART: Typed
SONG LIST:
1. Swivelchair-Nothing Painted Blue
2. The Milkshake Song-Angry Salad
3. The Rainbow-The Apples in Stereo
4. C is the Heavenly Option-Heavenly
5. All Nite Diner-Modest Mouse
6. A Little Less Conversation-Elvis Presley/JXL
7. Letter from an Occupant-the New Pornographers
8. Wishing Well-Terence Trent D’Arby
9. Let’s Stick Together-Roxy Music
10. Ears Ring-Rainer Maria
11. Ugly-Fishbone
12. Minnie the Moocher-Cab Calloway
13. New Girlfriend-the Mr. T Experience
14. Can You Picture That?-Electric Mayhem
15. Shake a Puddin’-Dub Narcotic Sound System
16. Jenny-the mountain goats
17. Harbor-Vienna Tang
18. Overgrown-Walt Mink
19. Using the Metric System-Atom and his Package
20. 21st Century Digital Boy-Bad Religion
21. No One Takes Your Freedom-Scissors Sisters/Beatles/George Michael/Aretha Franklin/DJ Earworm
22. The End
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on August 24
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Simple, but effective. New (to my ears) and old stuff working well together.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The fact that he mentioned the albums from which the cuts came. The jaunty cuts 1-4 & 13. 17. 19 (radical). The cuts I knew from before but like: 6, 8, 9, 12, and especially 11. 21-a remix of the Beatles’ "For No One", with snippets of Aretha’s "Think", which was worth the price of admission (Mary R- you need to hear this!)
ON THE OTHER HAND: No song reached this level, though the repetitive nature of 15 came close.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: GD on 16, the F word in 19

ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: One of my favorite beverages!

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Lydster Part 17 This Song's for You



Because I have an interest in music, it is inevitable that I would use it to entertain and soothe the child.

When she was a few months old, people lied to us that she'd sleep if we drove her around in the car. Even when she finally did sleep, it would never be more than an hour, then she'd wail. In defense, I'd sing "Old McDonald", with a wild range of animals (bear, elephant, fox); stopping to catch my breath would mean more crying. That was her favorite, along with a variant on BINGO: "There was a family, had a girl, and Lydia was her name. Oh, L-Y-D-I-A..."

A lot of it was whatever came came to mind at the moment: Here Comes Lydia (Right Down Lydia Lane); Lydia, You Are My Favorite Daughter (think Herman's Hermits), and many more.

But two seemed to last. Particularly when I was with Lydia, and Lydia wanted to nurse, thee was this version of Eli's Coming (probably the Three Dog Night version of the Laura Nyro song):

Mommy's coming, hold your horses (X2)
Girl, Mommy's a-comin', you better wait (X3)
Girl, Mommy's coming. Hold your horses
Better, better wait your turn
Mommy's coming, and she'll feed you
And she'll nmake you real strong
and she'll give you good nutrition
She'll give you just what you need
Every single da-ay

But my favorite
I love Lydia (X2),
'cause she is my daughter, oh yeah,
'cause she is my daughter.

But what was the TUNE? Actually, in the very beginning, I could not remember. Then I figured it out. It was a tune that got all the way up to #66 on the Billboard charts in 1983. I must have picked up from a compilation, because I certainly own no albums by Toto Coelo. (In fact, I had to look up the group name AGAIN.)

Those of you up on obscure '80s bands have probably figured out the song:
I eat cannibals. Oy. Well, the tune STILL works.

So, Lydia, my tuneful daughter, happy 17 months. I love how you dance when the stereo's on. But STOP MESSING WITH THE DIALS!

3 Erudite ?s


School has either begun or is about to begin for America's schoolkids. Two recent stories in the news caught my attention: 1) a real backlash in some states against ever-earlier start dates to the school year, and 2) a call in some quarters to quit the middle school model and go back to the K-8 system.

So, please let me know:

1. When does school start and end in your school district? Do you think it's too early, too late, or OK?

2. Do you think middle schoolers would be better served by the K-8 model? Why or why not?

3. What did you most like and hate about school as a 12-to-15 year old?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

LLWS/MLB


I’ve watched more Little League World Series in the past week and a half than I have in the past five years combined. There’s something about the fundamentals of the game that are so enjoyable at this level. Watching the kids play which reminds me why I love the game. Bunt singles. Running out every hit ball (the Baltimore Orioles’ Sammy Sosa got thrown out at second base this week admiring his home run that ended up NOT clearing the wall this week). Forcing the throw in attempting the extra base.

The Williamsport, PA tournament started with eight U.S. teams and eight international teams. There have been nail biters (usually involving the team from Louisiana, it seems) and blowouts (15-0 four-inning game called because of the application of the 10-run lead rule). Tonight, powerful Hawai’i plays scrappy Louisiana. The winner will play California Saturday for the U.S. championship. Meanwhile, the winner of today’s Guam-Curacao game will play Japan Saturday, assuring that the international champion will be from an island nation. The LLWS finals are on Sunday, and it really will be an an international affair, unlike Major League Baseball, which has its wealth of players from other countries, but only one foreign team, and that one not that far from the U.S. border.

Let me tell you about my Little League experience. I went for a tryout. I was having trouble on the field. I struck out on a 3-2 pitch that I never saw. I never went back. So I am amazed that any 12-year old can hit a 75-MPH fastball.

Former Phillies manager Larry Bowa will be honored Sunday as one of those who played in both the LLWS and in the Major League and displayed character (he is a character).

Last night, Pete Rose was on that damn best sports talk show thing. He seemed very knowledgeable about a lot of sports issues, but perhaps disingenuously surprised that the clock has been ticking not only on his possible reinstatement to baseball, but also his eligibility to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the writers. (In time, IF reinstated, the Hall could allow Rose to be considered by the Veterans’ Committee.) My feeling in that he DID break the fuindamental rules of baseball, and that the late Bart Giamatti did issue a lifetime ban. Here’s my compromise: allow Pete Rose to be considered for the Hall as soon as he is dead. That way, he doesn’t personally profit from his misdeeds, but that baseball recognizes the 17-time All-Star with the most hits ever.

Meanwhile, the Mets beat Arizona last night by two touchdowns. There are five teams competing for the National League wildcard slot, Houston and all of the East teams except Atlanta (Philadelphia, Florida, Washington and the Mets.) This morning, the Mets were tied for third place in the wildcard, 1.5 games back. All the East teams play each other in September, and I suspect the race won’t be determined until the last week of the season. This is the time of year I start getting into the major league game.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Midweek Ramble

It's not that I don't have things to write about, it's that I don't have time to write 'em.
***
Kelly Brown wrote that "someone from the IRS in Washington, DC has nothing better to do then spend 15 minutes on my blog." I wrote back that it was because her husband Chris, nicknamed Lefty, was being tracked by the FBI. It's since occurred to me that the government would want to know what horrors Kelly, who is a teacher, is putting in these young minds. All of that I thought was pretty tongue in cheek.

But then I started reading all of this Cindy Sheehan is a communist stuff (just type in Cindy Sheehan communist in Google to see what I mean.) The most audacious thing I read yesterday was the notion that Code Pink: Mothers for Peace is a pinko front - "Nothing more needs to be said." - apparently, in part, because of its name. In my bad John McEnroe imitation, I said aloud, "You are not serious!"

And speaking of same, I saw on ABC News last night (and in Greg's blog) that Pat Robertson wants the U.S. to put a hit on the duly elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, because he's buddies with Fidel. That election was likely more legit than either of the ones involving W. As an American, I'm embarrassed, but as a Christian, I'm appalled.

And here I thought Joe McCarthy was dead.
***

Brock Peters died. I always thought he had a wonderfully expressive face. Of course, he was best known for appearing in the movie To Kill a Mockingbird (one of the very few books I was assigned in school that I actually LIKED).
***
My bud David Brickman will be doing his sixth art criticism spot on WAMC (90.3 fm) tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:48 a.m.
The topic will be the Jacques-Louis David show at the Clark Art Institute.
By the way, for the out-of-towners it is possible to listen online at wamc.org (live only - not archived).

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Tony

NAME: Tony Holt
BLOG NAME: Tony Remembers
NAME OF CD: Tracks From The Radio Station In My Head
NUMBER OF CUTS: 17
RUNNING TIME: 78:28
COVER ART: Nice graphics; also on the CD itself
SONG LIST: Lefty in his post of June 30
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on July 21; Lefty
GENERAL THOUGHTS: I liked the first three songs, thought the next four were probably well crafted but not necessarily to my taste, and then really liked most of the rest. A good percentage of enjoyment not found on regular radio.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: Bramhall, Manx, L. Williams, Mule, Dread Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Robert Plant.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Storm started strong then started wearing on me.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Not Hamell, which Tony kindly noted on the disc.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: Though from Syracuse (I think), Hamell played around here (Albany) often enough to be considered "local boy makes good." I’ve seen Lucinda Williams twice.

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Fred






NAME: Fred G. (for Guru) Hembeck, comic book impressario, best known as the father of one Julie Hembeck, whose fifteenth birthday is this very week
BLOG NAME: Fred Sez, part of Hembeck.com
NAME OF CD: Ring In the Obscure, Ring Out The Odd
NUMBER OF CUTS: 20
RUNNING TIME: 78:34
COVER ART: Nicely typed

SONG LIST:
1. Sleep That Burns-Be Bop Deluxe
2. Losing True-The Roches
3. Twenty-Five Fingers-Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello (from the McCartney/McManus Collaborations, a bootleg of demos and such, from the My Brave Face era. That song was never officially released, with only the demo available for the fans.)
4. Unwanted Number-For Real
5. Hey St. Peter-Flash and the Pan
6. American UFO-John Southworth
7. What Kind of Fool Are You?-Swing Out Sister
8. Me and My Monkey-Robbie Williams
9. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime-Mandy Patinkin
10. Change the World-Nellie McKay
11. So Says I-the Shins
12. Remember-Air
13. Hurt-Code Blue
14. Dreaming of You-the Coral
15. Colour Slide-the Honeycombs
16. Sleep with Me Instead-Louise Goffin
17. Whispering Your Name-Jules Shear
18. Just One Smile-Gene Pitney (an early Randy Newman number, also covered by the Kooper-led BS&T and by Dusty Springfield)
19. I’ll Be Seeing You-Ann Hampton Callaway (from the original cast recording of the B'way musical "Swing")
20. Don’t Hang Up-10cc
(Notes by Encyclopedia George)
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on July 21
GENERAL THOUGHTS: I’ve gotten more mixed CDs from Fred than anyone I know, so I’m always looking forward to his discs. I found that I liked this more on the second play than the first, and the third more than the second.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The alarm that starts the CD, and the hang up that ends it. Track 15- sounds somewhat like their hit "Have I the Right?" Songs I had all but forgotten in a new context (2 and especially 5). 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 13.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Maybe a little too romantic at the end, but no big deal. But the big finish on 9 grinds the proceedings to a halt.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: The F-word in "Me and My Monkey"
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: Nellie McKay is a lot younger than she sounds.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Channeling Rball Anger


As I've noted, I try to play racquetball every weekday. It's a pretty civilized gathering. We can usually agree on whether a shot or serve is good or not, and when we can't, we just play it over.

Last week, we were playing doubles. My partner and I won the first game rather handily, but in the second game, one of our opponents was making unreturnable three-corner shots. Also, I wasn't picking up the ball well, missing makeable returns. This was somewhat frustrating, but that is just the way it goes.

Then, as they were leading 9-3, my partner returned a shot. Well, WE thought he'd returned it. The other side saw it differently, but instead of just replaying the point, as tradition would dictate, their side declared that the ball had bounced twice and that it was their point, making it 10-3.

This made me VERY ANGRY.

It wasn't the single point, it was the fact that social contract had been violated. But my anger wasn't arguing the decision type, it was the seething "what a crock THAT was", stomach-churning near-rage.

They eventually got to 14-3 in a 15-point, win by 2, game before finally losing the serve. I served, and suddenly, they couldn't touch it. Maybe I was focusing more, perhaps I was hitting it harder. Whatever happened, we got to 14-14 on my 11 consecutive successful serves. My partner served, and it was 15-14. They tied it at 15, but we got the next two points to win 17-15.

I was fascinated by all of this: just how ticked I got and how well I was able to channel it into SportsCenter-worthy comeback. Self-discovery is such a joy.



And this is who makes brings me REAL joy.

Rhymes with Vogue


The next time you see A Clockwork Orange (and you should see it, if only once), imagine it without the music of the moog. It would change the fear and even the humor of the film in a way I simply cannot imagine. The pieces were performed by Walter (later Wendy) Carlos, but the instrument was the creation of Robert Moog, who died this week. The article lists just some of the pivotal albums enhanced by the moog, and therefore enhanced by Moog.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Carpetbaggers?

[Note: This post was designed to make Greg Burgas ill.]

It was probably in 4th or 5th grade when I learned the meaning of the term carpetbagger. By that time, I was reading the op/ed pages of our local newspapers in Binghamton. I recall that columnist William F. Buckley suggested that Robert F. Kennedy was a "carpetbagger" for being a Massachusetts and/or Virginia resident running for U.S. Senate in 1964. I thought his point was pretty sound, and we had a perfectly good "Rockefeller Republican" named Kenneth Keating. So I was disappointed that Kennedy beat Keating in 1964. As it turned out, Keating ended up as a justice on the New York State Court of Appeals (the highest court, despite its name) and U.S. Ambassador to India, so things turned out all right for him.

Of course, Kennedy was assassinated in June of 1968 and was replaced by Republican Charles Goodell that September. Jamestown, the heart of his district, was NOT a bastion of progressivism, so his transformation from a moderate Congressman to Kennedyesque Senator was astonishing to most. The Senate race in 1970 was among Goodell (cross-endorsed by the Liberal Party), equally progressive Democrat Richard Ottinger, and Conservative James Buckley.
(The terms Liberal and Conservative in the previous sentence refers to actual political parties in the state, not just philosophies; the Conservative Party still exists, though the Liberal Party died a few years ago.).
James Buckley was born in New York, but was most recently from Connecticut, yet I don’t recall his brother William complain about HIM being a "carpetbagger."

For the 2000 race, a woman who was residing in the District of Columbia, and had roots in Arkansas and Illinois, bought a house in Chappaqua with her husband in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Of course, that was Hillary Clinton, and the "carpetbagger" label was exhumed yet again, as you can see from this August 1999 cartoon:

Now, with New York governor George Pataki announcing that he’s not running for reelection in 2006 (because he would lose, I think), so he can plan to run for President (the analysts tell us- hey, maybe it's BOTH reasons), William Weld, born in New York, but former governor of Massachusetts, is planning to run for the New York statehouse. He's won't be considered a carpetbagger in the traditional sense, since he has been in NYS for the past five years. Still, I believe some folks will at least pause for voting for a person for governor who once governed another state. Yet Weld may be the strongest opponent against the presumed Democratic nominee, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The AG has been busy doing the job of the SEC and other federal and state agencies because they don't seem to be able to do it themselves.

As an old political science major, I look at politics with a sense of wonder, the type of fascination one has watching a fire or rubbernecking at a car wreck.

Gay Batman


Read here. BTW, I couldn't find the pieces mentioned on the Artnet page. Could they have been already removed?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ramblin' Thoughts


Back on July 29, David Chapman wrote an astute observaton about an 85-year old grandmother suing the makers of Grand Theft for its hidden sexual content. While I generally agreed with his interpretation, some piece of me wanted to take the contrary position, but I couldn't figure out why until recently. It's Watergate. Or more specifically, the lesson we're supposed to have learned from Watergate. It's not the third-rate burglary, it's the cover-up. It's not merely that there was graphic sex, it was graphic sex that the company Take Two deliberately HID. This gives members of Congress just the cover they need to regulate, since the system "failed."

I added four links this week. One was requested by this ADD person, who used to shop at FantaCo, about his site re: the music and art of James Kochalka. One is for Joe Fludd, a guy who did some work for FantaCo. And the third is the store owned by Augustus Mattick, then known as Matt, who used to work at FantaCo. Oh, before I forget, a belated thanks to Fred, Lynn, and Julie for the vblue bear; Lydia loves it.

The fourth link, BTW, is for Nat Pike's page. I thought I had already done so, but I have now.

Thanks to Johnny Bacardi for letting me know on August 17 that James Kochalka ls NOT related to Darren McGavin.

Meanwhile, Mike at Progressive Ruin was kind enough to link to me on August 11; I hope he'll still be that kind after my review yesterday of his...eclectic CD. Gordon at Blog This, Pal also linked to me, on August 17.

Oh, and Eddie at Renaissance Geek said nice things about me back on August 11. Glad if it helped, Eddie.

Logan at House of the Ded said that he was taking off from blogging for a while, but then came back only a week later. (I've seen plenty of blogs that haven't posted in several months, with no explanation.) So when I checked out his page (pointlessly, I figured), only to see a new item, I wrote that I was glad he was back, but that he confounded me. So, naturally, he changes the header of his page to read, "Confounding Roger Green daily! (Well, maybe not daily...)" I admit that I laughed out loud!

Logan is correct that people should be especially mindful to tip deliverypeople. I get the Pizza News e-mail at work (really, I do), and there was an article about how some pizzerias in Indianapolis are now requiring a surcharge for delivery, hurting the drivers' tips.

In the Greg links, he found, or rather his pal Roxy found, a website called Black People Love Us. I don't know if it's a parody or an insult or just weird. Your thoughts, PLEASE.

And speaking of Greg, he's having a contest, or rather, three contests until the end of the month. I entered one myself, which you'll read about eventually.

And speaking of contests, Lefty had one on August 3, which is over except for the judging. But he did note on August 16 about a series of contests offered at Yet Another Comics Blog, the last one being held today.
Of course, I noticed that Lefty didn't mention it until he WON on Day One. (Naturally, you didn't happen to notice that I didn't mention it either until I won on Day Two, did you?) Today is the last day for that contest.

Oh, Lefty, if I have to be more specific, consider yourself memed. Kelly, too. (I want to see if your recollections of five years ago are the same.)

And re: Lefty, he was the one who initiated the Mixed Blog CD thing, the results of which I've been reviewing lately. I never received CDs from:
Ken Lowery Presents: Ringwood---> Ken Lowery
MercuryX23's Fantablous Blog---> MercuryX23
musEletric---> Brendan Duffy
Near Mint Heroes---> Shane Bailey
Roxy's World---> Roxy
Stacking the Deck---> David Chapman
So if you've sent, please re-send. Thank you.

Yet Another Comics Blog has a sister blog, Yet Another Music Blog, which has a link to free downloads on Amazon. John Hiatt, whose birthday was yesterday, is one of the featured artists. I may have more CDs of John Hiatt than anyone except the Beatles. I borrowed the new CD from the Hoffinator a couple days ago, and it's another fine effort.

What's really weird about this posting is that I've never met ANY of these people mentioned, except for the FantaCo-related folks. The mystery of the blog.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Mike

NAME: Mike Sterling
BLOG NAME: Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin
NAME OF CD: The Uneasy Rest of Thomas Edison
NUMBER OF CUTS: 35
RUNNING TIME: 79:55
COVER ART: Excellent picture of Alva himself
SONG LIST:
1. Think of Me-Stark Effect
2. No More Free Will-The Bran Flakes
3. Mustache-Qypthone
4. Evolution Is Easy-Neoangin
5. Bombolero-Dan Belloc and His Orchestra
6. Spring Pants Has Come-Mummy and the Peep Show
7. Eleven Twelve-Braces Tower
8. Aggravation-Victor Banana
9. Hearing Problem-The Dead Alewife (talk)
10. Mothra Song
11. Murphy It’s You-from Robocop: The Musical
12. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-Braces Tower
13. At the Munsters
14. Star Trek-Tenacious D
15. Stay on Target—Rebel Scum
16. The Smurfs’ All Star Show
17. Boy Wonder-Burt Ward (talk)
18. Kookie’s Mad Pad-Ed "Kookie" Byrnes
19. The Carioca-Jonathan and Darlene Edwards
20. Apes’ Shuffle-The Jeff Wayne Space Shuttle
21. Pac Man Cereal
22. Goin’ Berzerk-Buckner & Garcia
23. M.U.L.E. Theme (rehashed)-Edgemere
24. Video Computer System-Golden Shower
25. Purple Cow-Psychedelicado
26. Multi-Family Garage Sale-Land of the Loops
27. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Syphilis-The Four Skins
28. Perversion for Profit-The Bran Flakes (talk)
29. Crybaby Duck-Evolution Control Committee (talk)
30. QuackQuackQuack-QuaQuaQua
31. Hoppity Jones-Twink
32. Uncle Mistletoe-Buddy Max
33. Poke You in the Eye-Head and Leg
34. Metamorpho
35. Mary Had a Little Lamb-Thomas Edison (talk)
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on June 21
GENERAL THOUGHTS: This is why I don’t review CDs for a living. Sometimes, one is left...speechless. This is certainly the strangest of the discs I received. Mike’s note: "...many of you will probably rip the disc out of your player and throw it across the room..." Well, no, but probably not a regular listen either.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: 2, 3, (danceable) 7 (if you've forgotten know how to count, a pleasant refresher), 27 (change syphilis to Christmas for the tune), 28 (very funny, I’m afraid), 33 (rude but effective), 35 (appropriate ending)
ON THE OTHER HAND: 15 (irritatingly repetitive), 24 (ditto). And it’s not so much a particular cut, it’s the collective effect of "how weird can you get", particularly the middle of the disc.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Well, the TOPICS of 27 & 28 will turn some heads.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: I own the single Pac Man Fever by Buckner & Garcia; ah, I see why cuts 21 & 22 are together. The second CD in a row with Smurfs; maybe use of these blue folks is somehow ironic.
I wrote music for the famous poem "Purple Cow" in college and got an A on the assignment.
***
After I posted the above, I played Mike's first Mixed CD. I liked it a lot. Wish I were reviewing THAT.

Oh, THAT story again


So I'm flicking through the channels last night, and I come across a shot of two women in the talking-heads side-by-side mode. The woman on the left I don't know. The woman on the right is vaguely familiar. And isn't that a NewsChannel 13 logo behind her, partially obscured? Why, yes, it is. The reporter is named Alison Bleck from NBC affiliate WNYT in Albany and she's talking to MSNBC's Rita Cosby about the Christian Brothers Academy teacher who allegedly had sex with underage male students. Oh, WHY is this not-worthy-of-national-news-coverage story on MSNBC? Because teacher was busted for DWI, a violation of her bail, and now she's heading for jail.

Then I see Rita interviewing David Soares, Albany County District Attorney. She asks him a question, and he responses that he's "shocked" that the teacher would use such poor judgment and thought she might have laid low. Rita's next question: "Weren't you shocked...?" as though she hadn't even listened to his previous response. And the entire three-minute (or so) interview was like that, with her asking questions that he had already answered.

I didn't watch any more of the program, since she had moved on to Alabama-teen-missing-in-Aruba, and instead watched the last two innings of the Mets exciting 1-0 win over the Nats.

So I need to know, because I don't watch her show, and indeed was totally unfamiliar with her until I read this story about the former FOX reporter: is Rita Cosby ALWAYS that incompetent, or was that just an aberration?

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Dorian

The physics of music:



NAME: Dorian Wright
BLOG NAME: Postmodern Barney
NAME OF CD: Happy Smiling Naked Man
NUMBER OF CUTS: 35
RUNNING TIME: 79:39
COVER ART: A picture of a happy smiling naked man, except for the strategically placed LP cover
SONG LIST: On Lefty Brown's page of June 30, though there are also 10 snippets inserted throughhout
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on June 21; Lefty
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Not all of it, but a lot of this disc is jokey. Some of it worked for me (Nigel Planer, Milton Berle’s Yellow Sub), some didn’t (Hulk Hogan), and a lot I didn’t know WHAT to think (Tony Randall, Leonard Nimoy, Brady Bunch, Smurfs). A somewhat uneven disc.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The run of covers: G-L-O-R-I-A ("Melvin")/Judy Get Down/Jolene; Snip Snip; Teenage Enema Nurses; The Mystery Date commercial
ON THE OTHER HAND: The Scooby-Doo joke was WAY too long; Boots was painful
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Not the Butthole Duet, MC Chris, Justin Tranter, and at least two of the unidentified snippets.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: Killer Pussy was one of the biggest local New Wave bands in Phoenix back in the 80's, I’ve read. Nancy Sinatra was on CBS Sunday Morning recently; she looked and sounded great- THOSE boots were made for walkin’! Dorian kindly sent me his previous effort, the listing for which is somewhere on June 10; though it too was kitschy, it was less weird, so I enjoyed it more.

Friday, August 19, 2005

3 Smoking ?s


(This was probably inspired in part by Gordon's recent post.)

In the USA, lung cancer kills more men AND more women than any other cancer. Peter Jennings who was a smoker until about 20 years ago, then "was weak" and started up around 9/11/01, died from it. Vasssar Clements died from it. These questions are limited to tobacco (not any of the other stuff, like that "wacky tobacky"):

1. Do you smoke or chew tobacco? If so, how much? If you do, why, and if you don't, why not?

2. If you partake, have you tried to quit, by what method and how many times? If you're a former smoker, are you particularly obnoxious about smoking? (Be honest.) If you've never smoked, how tolerant are you of smokers around you?

3. What are the public smoking regulations in your area? Are they fair, too tough or too lenient? What has been the actual/anticipated economic impact of the law?

Taize


I have attended a number of Taize sevices in the past decade or so. They are wonderful, reflective times. My old church used to have a service on Saturday afternoons. The Westminster Presbyterian church in Albany currently has a regular Wednesday service.

So I was saddened to hear of the death of Brother Roger, (a good name, that), the founder of Taize. I was particularly disturbed by the manner in which he died. I'll send a prayer in his memory.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan is alive & well



A whole bunch of rallies yesterday, all in the name of Cindy, still camped out in Crawford. The mother of the late Casey Sheehan is the cover story in the Albany newsweekly Metroland. Will any of this change American policy in Iraq? Maybe not in the short term. But as American casualties mount (59 U.S. fatalities in August 2005 at last count, and we won't even talk about the Iraqi deaths, and with the Kurds threatening to pull out of the Iraqi government, one continues to get the feeling of the q word: quagmire.

When the war started in March 2003, I predicted that there would be an independent Kurdistan within five years. The "no-fly zone" enforced by the U.S. and U.K. between 1991 and 2003 created essentially an independent Kurd state. I'm inclined to stick with my prognostication.

Still, I wish I knew the solution to the mess that W hath wroth.

Vassar Clements


Fiddle great Vassar Clements died this week. If you don't know who he was, I hope you take an opportunity to find out. I was fortunate to see him play while I was in college at New Paltz, and he was extraordinary. Lung cancer-DAMN!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Win a FREE Graphic Novel

Write a couple sentences and win a free graphic novel. One of the choices is a book by the great Will Eisner. Anyone can do it! But you must do it before midnight tonight in the East. Four more chances on Thursday through Sunday for different GNs.

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Eddie

NAME: Eddie Mitchell
BLOG NAME: Renaissance Geek
NAME OF CD: Just a Buncha Stuff I Like
NUMBER OF CUTS: 24 (not really); 19 and 5 very short empty spaces
RUNNING TIME: 75:59
COVER ART: Simple but effective
SONG LIST: His post of July 3
SUBSEQUENTLY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on August 24
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Eddie seems to have more 2004 and 2005 tunes than just about anyone. He is really hooked into the quality of the lyrics. His descriptions of the songs on his webpage are wonderfully evocative.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: Pretty much the whole first half: The Kaiser Chiefs, Merediths, Rilo Kiley, Brave Combo, Edith Piaf! Also Teen Idols, Stanley Thompson.
ON THE OTHER HAND: I’d have flipped the order a little in the third quarter of the disc: a couple tunes were a little too similarly quiet and blended in my mind sonically, though distinct lyrically. Maybe just switching Gautier and Chambers.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: I suppose some of the topics might be off putting to some (Porno Shop, I Spent My Last Ten Dollars on Birth Control and Beer, e.g.), but they didn’t bother me.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: The fact that Eddie recognizes that Emmylou Harris is a goddess is a good thing.

Linkaround



OK, stay with me here.

Go to the link for today (August 17) to see Fred link to my previous story about visiting him, which I posted on THIS blog. So, why bother directing you there? PICTURES! A picture of my daughter with her mother and me. A picture of my daughter with Fred and Lynn's daughter Julie. It's just Fred's way to make sure I keep checking for his tipoz.

Mixed Bag CD Blog-Kelly

NAME: Kelly Brown
BLOG NAME: The Life of a Wife and Teacher
NAME OF CD: Mrs. LeftyBrown's Feel Good Mix
NUMBER OF CUTS: 20
RUNNING TIME: 78:31
COVER ART: Nicely typed
SONG LIST: Her post of June 19
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: No one, although I recall a couple people mention in passing that this is among their favorite discs.
SUBSEQUENTLY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on October 6
GENERAL THOUGHTS: This album has more cuts that I actually own than any other, including 6 of the first 7.
When I first played it (in the office, half listening) I thought it was too noodly. What I mean by "noodly" is too much emphasis on the bands that occasionally jam too long, such as the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead, and their musical descendents such as Phish. I like these bands well enough, but I guess I'm more of a song man.
On second listen (at home, paying more attention), I thought the balance of cuts was great. And it plays well with repeated listening. This is why I always listen thrice before I evaluate.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: Los Lonely Boys (I gotta get them), Maceo Parker, Arlo
ON THE OTHER HAND: Gee, let me think of something: OK, typos in Crow’s and McLaughlin’s first names on the label
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Yep. In fact, you could put this in a 5-CD mixer and it would be a nice addition.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: My wife is a teacher too, so I may be slightly favorably disposed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stealing from Burgas again

The questions, that is; the answers are all mine.

I did this for only two reasons: 1) the piece I was writing just wasn't going anywhere, (that ever happen to you folks?), though you may still see it in the future; and 2) because I'm a sucker for this self-revelatory stuff.

1. Ten years ago: In August 1995, I was going out with Carol, who's now my wife. But we broke up in March 1996, and didn't get back together for good until November 1998.

2. Five years ago: In August 2000, my father died. I may have mentioned that recently.

3. One year ago: saw some minor league baseball games, started to get out of the fog of new fatherhood.

4. Yesterday: Played racquetball, cutthroat (3 players), won a 30-minute long game. Worked on my self-evaluation at work, a real MEGO, except that is the only way I can even be considered for a raise. Also, I sent off an evaluation of my intern to her school. Got an e-mail from a high school friend from Binghamton, Jon Phipps, who I hadn't seen since 1990; he was in town to pick up his wife from a meeting, so we had lunch and caught up. After work, went out to eat with Carol for our lunaversary sans the child. Wrote a CD review for the blog, which will show up Saturn-day.

5. Today: Play racquetball. Go to work, have a staff meeting. Hope to watched some taped TV. Probably go for a walk with Lydia after dinner if it doesn't rain.

6. Tomorrow: To quote Steve Gerber, (sorry, Steve, for your pain), Tomorrow Never Knows. Racquetball, work. Was supposed to have lunch with another old friend, Michele, but that was postponed until Thursday. Probably another CD review.

7. Five snacks I enjoy: cottage cheese with any number of things: canned fruit, apple sauce, apples; ice cream, especially strawberry; fig bars; oatmeal raisin cookies; animal crackers (the good kind).

8. Five bands I know the lyrics of most of their songs: Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Rolling Stones, CSN&Y. Are Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, John Lennon, Neil Young "bands"?

9. Five things I would do with $100,000,000: contribute $1000 apiece to a whole bunch of charities I've always wanted to support; pay off the mortgages of my sisters' and my brothers-in-law's houses (oh, and ours); do every single repair in the house that we've put off because of lack of money (new kitchen cabinets, new bathroom, attic insulation especially); hire a secretary, driver, housekeeper and a masseuse (ah, a daily massage); and get season tickets to the symphony, the theater and to minor league baseball. Oh, there are other things, but those are the first five off the top of my head.

10. Five locations I'd like to run away to: Fiji, Rome, Paris, Rio, some remote part of Hawai'i.

11. Five Bad Habits: Don't eat enough salad, my desk is a mess, I tend to be late, my periodicals tend to pile up unread, I avoid balancing my checkbook.

12. Five things I like doing: Playing racquetball, reading periodicals, blogging, playing cards or backgammon, going to baseball games.

13. Five TV shows I like: JEOPARDY!, CBS Sunday Morning, Gilmore Girls, Scrubs, 60 Minutes.

14. Famous People I'd like to meet: Living or dead. Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, John Lennon, Mohandas Gandhi, Christopher Reeve.

15. Biggest joys at the moment: Well, daughter Lydia is a hoot. Seeing old friends. Seeing movies with my wife again. This blog.

16. Favorite toys: Stereo, CD burner, VHS/DVD player. I have simple needs.

17. Five people to tag: Not my thing. Sorta like those junk e-mails that says "pass this on and have good luck" or "pass this on if you love Jesus." Jesus and I are fine, gracias, but I'm still not passing on dopey e-mail.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Penguins & Dogs & Plastics

Carol & I went to see two more movies recently.

Must Love Dogs stars the luminescent Diane Lane and the wonderful John Cusack. I REALLY wanted to love this movie. But you know that a romantic comedy isn't working when 1) you don't laugh and 2) you don't get a sense of chemistry between the two who are "destined to be together, even if they don't know it yet." In fact, the only time I really believed them as a potential couple was during the end credits, when in fact, they WERE a couple reflecting back on their courtship. Part of the problem with the laughs was that old story- the best ones show up in the previews.
Other fine actors, including as Christopher Plummer, who plays Lane's father (and blind date! - this is revealed in the trailer) also appear, but I didn't much care about any of the characters EXCEPT the Stockard Channing character, who plays one of the Plummer character's girlfriends. It's not an AWFUL film, but it is lacklustre.
And the title is SO wrong, since NEITHER character actually owns a dog.

March of the Penguins is a very right title for a very right film. These noble birds that don't fly go through a tortured year-long process in an attempt to bring their young into the world. I lost count how many 70-mile treks the animals had to make. I couldn't help but think about two things, though:
1) If humans had to go through so much in order to create babies, we'd have zero population in no time - no, make that negative population growth.
2) How the heck did the filmmaker get such compeling footage under such adverse conditions? We're talking Antarctic winter, -80 F. And the summer is not a day at the beach, either.

We also rented a video of The Graduate, an iconic movie I admitted to never seeing here. One of the things someone told me is that I might find it dated.
Lessee: Young man has relationship with female friend of his parents, but prefers the company of HER daughter. Gets chewed out by the cuckolded husband. Sounds like the plot of last week's Jerry Springer show.
Truth is that I LOVED this movie, from Dustin Hoffman's "what the heck do I do now?" college grad (been there), to the late Anne Bancroft's sultry seduction (I've almost been there) to the Simon & Garfunkel score (I live there) to doing the absolutely irrational for love (boy, have I been THERE). It also features one of my favorite actors, William Daniels from the TV show St. Elsewhere. This was my first viewing, but definitely not my last.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ramblin' Mumblings

For some reason, most of these postings are political. Except for one, I didn't seek them out; they were e-mailed to me, or I tripped over them somehow.

ADVERTISING

Vote for your favorite advertising icon and slogan here in honor of Advertising Week in late September.

BASEBALL

Heard about the legendary eephus pitch?

MUSIC

Apparently, Van Morrison is the third to the last musician in the world with his own website. It contains free live cuts from his forthcoming album. BTW, Van's birthday is at the end of this month, so listen to lots of his tunes.

POLITICS

Jim Wallis, the editor of Sojourners magazine, and the author of "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It", writes a piece for the NY Times op/ed page.

The energy bill that W signed this week has a few good aspects, but also has a lot of corporate welfare, especially if one is from Texas.

My friend Mark writes: "Turn on any 'Classic Rock' station and chances are within a few days you will hear two songs by the '60's group Steppenwolf: 'Born to Be Wild' and 'Magic Carpet Ride.' Adrenalin-pumping music to be sure. On the other hand,
you won't hear songs of social commentary that are as relevant today as they were then. Maybe we should call this in to their request lines: 'Monster' by Steppenwolf".

I love the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq looking for answers from W in Crawford. Cindy Sheehan is being called The Lone Star Iconoclast. She's obviously struck a nerve, because even the mainstream media have picked up the story.

Quote from the blogisphere: "Besides telling us how to live, think, marry, pray, vote, invest, educate our children, and die, the Republicans have done a fine job of getting government out of our lives."

And if you live in a strong Republican/conservative district, , don't give up hope.

Ben Stein does a regular opinion piece on CBS Sunday Morning. A couple weeks ago, he recommended that W stand tough and support Karl Rove. To give in would be give the liberals that taste of blood they want. He's probably right. But I'll say it again: Fire Karl Rove.

Read about the campaign to stop genocide in DARFUR, the Sudan, where 200,000 to 400,000 people have been killed. The organizers believe that tactics like petitions, calls and letters are all a part of how W and his advisers are gauging public opinion with regard to the appropriate next steps to stop the atrocites. He "WILL NOT provide the necessary leadership without confidence that public opinion will support an international humanitarian intervention." And maybe not even then, I fear. This organization is helping the refugee women.

United Methodist Bishops Back Complete Ban on Nuclear Weapons; Church Joins in Prayer for Victims of Hiroshima, Nagasaki Bombings.

WORKING HARD

There's a scam artist calling himself Arthur DiLorenzo who's been targeting churches in the Northeast in the past; he has resurfaced. One church received a call from him recently. His story usually involves starting a new job and not being paid yet, or traveling and getting stranded, but his demand is to have money wired to him.
With minor variations, it's a story that's been told to pastors up and down the eastern seaboard. Something to be aware of, in case you hear of a similar call.

I got an e-mail with an article that immediately seemed funky. "Worker dead at desk for 5 days" is an urban legend.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Blog Mixed CD Review-Chris2

NAME: Chris Brown
BLOG NAME: LeftyBrown's Corner 6/20 (2nd)
NAME OF CD: Under Cover, Disc Two
NUMBER OF CUTS: 16
RUNNING TIME: 68:26
COVER ART: Nicely typed
SONG LIST: His post of June 20
SUBSEQUENTLY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on October 6
GENERAL THOUGHTS: If I had heard this independent of the first disc, I'd say it was very good. And it really IS very good. It's just that the sequencing of the first disc was SO outstanding, and it spoiled me; somehow the flow on this one wasn’t quite there for me as much. Three Leonard Cohen covers are cool, though.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The fact that he listed the original artists. Uptown Girl. Turning Japanese. I Got You Babe. The Nick Cave cut ends the CD well.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Somehow, the Dead’s Queen Jane drags on approximately too long.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: As far as I could tell. (Some guttural pieces are hard to suss.)
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: I suppose this really is one humungous CD and that I should review the two discs as one entity. But I didn't. So there.

3 Ramblin' ?s-Music

This was inspired by this posting by Steve Gerber.

Please tell me:

1. What music do you play when you feel good, happy, or want to feel that way?

2. What music do you play when you're down, melancholy, or want to feel that way?

3. What music do you play when you want to irritate your neighbor, your housemate or anyone within earshot?

Blog Mixed Bag CD Review-Chris1

In case you haven't a clue what a Lefty Brown is.

NAME: Chris "Lefty" Brown
BLOG NAME: LeftyBrown's Corner
NAME OF CD: Under Cover, Disc One
NUMBER OF CUTS: 19
RUNNING TIME: 76:05
COVER ART: Nicely typed
SONG LIST: His post of June 17
SUBSEQUENTLY REVIEWED BY: Gordon on October 6
GENERAL THOUGHTS: I love this album. I love the fact that the cover versions were intriguing. I love the fact that Chris does the linkages: cover of U2 to cover BY U2 to cover of U2, for example.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The fact that he listed the original artist. "One" by Warren Haynes (I was expecting JR Cash, who shows up later). The Duhks. FRED (yee-haw barbershop). The Stanford Marching Band!
ON THE OTHER HAND: What the heck is FRED? ‘splain, Lefty.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Except for Rage Against the Machine
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: When Otis Redding heard Aretha Franklin’s version of "Respect", he reportedly said, "That girl stole that song from me." Trent Reznor said the same thing about Johnny Cash re: Hurt. Well, not EXACTLY that, but: "...that song in particular came from a pretty private, personal place. So it seemed, well, like that's my song... It was a big juxtaposition for me to hear it as someone else's song now. It instantly became his song after that."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dramedy

I've been having this three-year dialogue with a newspaper writer of radio and television issues. Back in June 2002, he noted that the word "dramedy" first came into use in describing "Ally McBeal" in 1997 in the media. This set off an alarm in my brain, which happens every time I read something in the newspaper or see something on TV or hear something on the radio that I know to be incorrect. (So you can just imagine what happens when I hear deliberate lies, which is why I don't often listen to talk radio, or Presidential press conferences.)

I went into the archives of HIS newspaper and found this headline:
NEW HALF-HOUR 'DRAMEDIES' SPELL PROMISE
09/18/1987

It cited Hooperman, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and Slap Maxwell as dramedies.

He wrote back:

"You are the man.
The man with a lot of free time, but the man nonetheless.
I will remember this down the road. Thanks."

(Actually, it didn't take that long. I wouldn't have looked it up had I not already pretty well known the outcome.)

So, I was actually mildly distressed when he made the SAME ERROR a couple weeks ago.

Naturally, as a librarian, an information specialist, I could not sit by idly.

"I bring this up YET AGAIN because you made mention in your column of 'dramedy' starting in 1997 with Ally Mac, which JUST AIN'T the case."

Being the thorough sort, I even gave him a link to check out.

After he acknowledged his error, I wrote: "I won't bug you again until the next time you mess up." To which he said, "OK, I'll hear from you tomorrow."

Once something sees print, information is often taken as fact by somebody else. "The sun revolves around the earth." "Cooperstown is the birthplace of baseball." "There were WMDs in Iraq." Read it, or hear it often enough, and people will actually start to believe it.

So all of you whose websites or blogs I've offered friendly corrections from time to time, please don't take it the wrong way. It's a librarian disease, and there is no cure, except accuracy.

Conversely, if I make an error in fact, I'd l'd like to know about it so I can fix it. Really. (If I make what you feel is an error in opinion, you can tell me about that too, but it may not, OK, probably won't change anything.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Romeo, Romeo

Carol, Lydia, and I sojourned down to the Mid-Hudson valley a couple hours south of Albany for the weekend.

FRIDAY- If you've read the column at Frez Sez for August 9 - complete with (shudder), photographs (or should that be (shutter)?), you will already know what the first stop was: visiting Fred Hembeck and Lynn Moss! Given the fact that I have mentioned Fred in this blog any number of times, I may have failed to say that I probably haven't SEEN him in the flesh since...well, I don't know. I MAY have run into him at Midnight Comics in 1992, but even that would have been 13 years ago. And it was probably much longer.

Lynn, I'm almost certain that I haven't seen since my FantaCo days, and that was 1988. If she wasn't at the FantaCon that year, it might have even been 1983, the previous FantaCon and the year after they moved from Troy to the Mid-Hudson.

Of course, they haven't met Carol or Lydia.

We arrived in the mid-afternoon (our goal was earlier, but ever since we had a child, we are, inexplicably, ALWAYS LATE.) We got to meet the famous Julie, one of the stars of Fred's column Fred Sez. She's bright and pleasant and a talented artist; the source of these skills is a puzzlement. (Kidding, Fred!) Unfortunately, MY child, Lydia, proceeded to move some things around, such as some models for some still life; I hope Julie forgives.

Lydia was infinitely interested in the bunny Romeo. She's never seen such a creature, so she thoroughly enjoyed petting the rabbit.

I should note that a couple days before, I get this lengthy e-mail from Fred describing the disarray of his abode. It was not as bad as he made it sound, and was a lot neater than places I lived pre-Carol. It was, as someone I knew called it, "lived in," particularly the area where Fred creates his artistic magic. I recognized some of the comics pulled out for his recent writings (Dr. Graves, Little Dot).

Early on, Carol and Lynn discover that Lynn knows Carol's brother Dan from work!

As Fred wrote, one of the peculiar aspects of parts of the conversation was that I would say something, and often Fred and/or Lynn would say, "Oh, yeah, you mentioned that in your blog." Fred would make a comment and I'd cite Fred's even longer body of electronic musings. Fortunately, we DID have things to talk about that we hadn't written about, and since Carol doesn't often read my blog and I doubt EVER reads Fred's (sorry, guy), it was all new to her.

Since Fred and Lynn have a nearly 15-year old (birthday the same month as Michael Jackson, her former musical hero - now she's into Pink Floyd), the house isn't what you called babyproof, so Carol & I took turns chasing around Lydia lest she tumble down the couple steps into the living room or den. Lydia seemed to love going around and around and around...

Fred dropped off Julie at a friend's house. Later we had a lovely lasagna dinner prepared by Lynn. Afterwards, the storm that had come through passed and we went into the pool.

My favorite conversation with Fred took place then. It was a lot of pop culture references for which we could use verbal shorthand. In fact, the BEST part was when we discussed...oh, wait, I can't talk about THAT. Fred is going to use it for his blog! It has to do with entertainment, but not comic books.

Then I got to go to THE BASEMENT, where rows of comics and comic-related material resided, some stacked quite neatly. But the man needs more shelves!

We had a wonderful time but needed to leave to go to our hotel room near Poughkeepsie and put the child to bed.

SATURDAY: We went to a swimming party at Darla's in Pleasant Valley. This was a group of old friends, some of which I'd known since college, and the rest were connected to my college buds. Lydia was fascinated by the cat, also named Romeo, but the feline just ran away. Lots of good food. A mellow time.

SUNDAY: We left the hotel and drove over to my college town of New Paltz. Well, the place has a NP mailing address, but is actually closer to Rifton. In any case, I visited my friends Mark and Paula. They were at the party yesterday but arrived late, and we didn't have much of a chance to talk with them then. Mark is one of the few people I can tell you the date I met him: September 12, 1971, the first day of college. We've been friends ever since. He's the one who got me into comic books. Paula is his high school sweetheart. They went their separate ways after high school, but got back together in the early 1990s and got married. They have a 10-year old daughter Adrienne.

We had lunch, and the talk old friends have. I nagged Mark into seriously thinking about a blog (he's a lot more opinionated than I), and suggested possible topics for it.

We drove home, happy to have experienced the trip, and happy to be home (except that, apparently, the power had gone out AGAIN...)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Media Notes

ATAS Reverses Restrictions on Emmy Speeches
James Hibberd, TV Week

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences board of governors voted Monday night to not restrict the speeches of writers and directors winning awards during the Sept. 18 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast.
The decision reverses an April announcement that nominees in the six prime-time writing and directing categories would have to prepare pre-taped remarks, which would be played as the winner walked to the stage. Sources said writers and directors upset about the decision had made threats, including not preparing tapes, preparing tapes that mocked the Emmys and boycotting the telecast.
"Some of the initial assumptions were not accurate in light of the way the show was being constructed," the academy said in a statement. "In effect, the amount of time being saved was not as much as originally thought, and the costs incurred would be in excess of original projections."
The reversed plan was the result of viewer focus-group research seeking ways to make the awards more exciting.
The 2004 broadcast was seen by 14 million total viewers, the second-lowest-rated Emmy awards in history. Last month, Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich was tapped to executive produce the ceremony, taking the reins from veteran Emmys producer Don Mischer.
***
Peter Jennings: Reporter, 8-10 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, August 10 on ABC-TV.
***
David Brickman will be doing his fifth art criticism spot on WAMC (90.3 fm) Thursday, August 11 at 11:07 a.m. The topic will be the local art scene as represented by several summer art shows in Albany. By the way, for the out-of-towners it is possible to listen online at wamc.org (live only - not archived)

"Living with cancer..."

Five years ago, 10 August 2000, my father, Leslie Harold Green died of prostate cancer.
Actually, the death certificate, which cites me as the "reporter" (whatever that means), says that he died of heart failure which was caused by a stroke which was precipated by prostate cancer (or some such.)

The first time Dad told us he had the disease was in early 1998. My sister Leslie, who lives in San Diego, and I were both visiting the Greens in Charlotte. I remember that my sister was very upset, but I wasn't all that much, and she was upset that I wasn't upset. My reaction was probably based on the fact that HE didn't seem all that upset.

In fact, he seemed pleased by the fact that he had this disease, but that he was still in control. At Carol's and my wedding (15 May 1999), he did all the floral arrangements and decorations. He seemed to relish in telling my new mother-in-law about it almost nonchalantly that evening.

And he also did the decorations for my parents' 50th anniversary party (12 March 2000), perhaps needing to take a break a little more often, but still going well. More than once, I heard him say to church folks and others: "I'm living with prostate cancer, not dying from it." That always got an "amen" from the congregation. I wasn't quite sure what the heck that meant, and I felt as though I were missing the punchline somehow.

My father was active in many, many things, including being the organizer and primary chef for the breakfast program at his church. Sister Leslie was talking to our mother on Leslie's birthday (23 July 2000), but my father, having made breakfast for four dozen people that morning, indicated that he was too tired to talk with her. This set off alarm bells for her. Leslie was always my father's favorite child. This is not a complaint, it's a fact that even she has admitted to. I mean, she's NAMED after him, for crying out loud. So, if he's too tired to talk with her on her birthday, something's seriously amiss.

The next week, even though she'd been in Charlotte earlier in that month, she flew from San Diego to Raleigh, then drove to Charlotte, arriving the very night he went into the hospital with some bleeding.

So, my mother, Leslie, and sister Marcia stayed with my father on a rotating basis. I talked with one of them on the phone every day.

That first weekend, my father thought that he was well enough to go home, so he got up and started taking out his IV tubes. This set off alarms at the nurses' station, where they had to insist that he return to his room. He was a bad patient.

Then, on Thursday, August 3, my father has a massive stroke, and I knew I had to go to Charlotte.

Here's the thing: I didn't want to go to Charlotte. It wasn't because we were backed up at work (though we were) or that one of us was already on vacation (though she was). I didn't want to go to Charlotte because I figured if I went down there, my father would die. (Conversely, I figured that if I stayed up in Albany, he'd hang on for a while.)

But my wife Carol & I got tickets to fly to the Queen City. (Here's a piece of advice, if you're ever in that situation; compare the price the airline gives you for their "compassionate rate" with what you might find from Priceline.com or its competitors. I'll bet the latter is cheaper, and you don't have the hassle of the paperwork, in this case, getting a note from my father's physician, Dr. Friedman, that said, yes, Les Green is really, really sick.)

Carol & I went right from the airport to the hospital on Monday, August 7. Even though he had some paralysis on one side, I could usually understand what he was saying. That night, Carol and I stayed in his room.

The next morning, Marcia was on the phone and made some lighthearted tease at Dad's expense. Dad heard this, even though the phone was to my ear, and said fairly clearly, "not funny," but he was obviously thought it was. Carol & I stayed with him that morning, then that afternoon, my mother.

My mother, Leslie, Carol and I met with an aid worker to determine what our options were if he were to live for a while: home care, hospice. My sisters stayed with him Tuesday night.

Carol & I were in on Wednesday morning. Dad became far less responsive since I had last seen him, pretty much in a comalike state, and on Wednesday night, Dr. Friedman said that it was likely that he would die within a week.

That evening, I turned on a baseball game, and explained the action to my father. I think the sound was down, so I was doing a play-by-play for a couple innings. I told him about Jason Giambi, the long-haired player for the Oakland A's who had "graced" the cover of Sports Illustrated within the previous year. It took me back to when Dad would explain in-person baseball and televised football to me when I was a kid.

There were men from church who worked with my father on the breakfast program, and Dad called them "The Guys." They came by and were surprised by his rapid decline since they had last seen him.

Wednesday night, we went home and Marcia stayed.

Thursday morning, I was working on an obituary for my father. Leslie had gone to relieve Marcia. Then at about 11:45 a.m., Marcia called from the hospital and said that my father was in the "death throes." There were two vehicles in the household and both were at the hospital.

At my mother's suggestion, I knocked on the door of a neighbor of theirs who I didn't know. He worked nights. He did, in fact, give my mother and me a ride to the hospital after he got dressed. But by the time we got there, my father had passed away.

In due course, we identified a funeral parlor, which we went to Friday morning. That weekend, there were tons of people at the Green household, often bringing over food.

The service that we planned went off quite well. Leslie sang, Leslie & I sang, stories were told. We felt as though we had to comfort OTHERS in their grief. We had on our game faces; Dad would have been proud, I think.

That Monday, we (my mother, Leslie & her daughter Becky, Marcia & her daughter Alex, and I) all rode in a limo to a military cemetery some 30 or 40 miles away, our one indulgence. (We weren't that sure where it was, and didn't know what condition we'd be in.) It was a small, stark ceremony run by old war veterans, and it was oddly affecting. The Sunday service WE did; this service was DONE FOR US, and somehow more emotional.

Carol & I left soon thereafter for Albany. We had tenants moving into an apartment we owned, and there was work to be done. And I didn't really cry until, a couple weeks after his death, the associate pastor of my church, Donna Elia, called me at work to extend her condolences. It's a good thing to have a private office.

That fall, I returned to choir, and I asked my buddy Peggy how her summer was, and she said, "Not so great. My father died." I said, "Mine, too." Then she said, "In August." I replied, "Me too." "On the 10th." "Me too." "At 3 p.m." "Mine was about 12:15 p.m." It's created some sort of special bond between Peggy and me. So, I know she's remembering five years ago, too.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mixed Bag CD Blog Review-Andrea

NAME: Andrea Faetanini
BLOG NAME: Entertainment for Geeks
NAME OF CD: Playgeek
NUMBER OF CUTS: 27
RUNNING TIME: 78:42
COVER ART: Photo of one my favorite lamented shows (can you guess?)- "Freaks and Geeks"
SONG LIST: Her post of June 14
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Nat Pike on June 15; Gordon on June 29
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Andrea's disc is louder in places than some of the others. It also has humorous bits, some of which worked better (Python, Shaun & Ed) than others. Andrea e-mailed the group noting "weird distort-y thing going on" during some tracks which frankly didn't bother me. I enjoyed this album quite a bit.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The Postal Service, Nerf Herder, Ted Leo, and Duran Duran (!) - I love the original, but this ain't bad.
ON THE OTHER HAND: I don't think Hero of Canton would appeal to me, even without distortion. Actually the only real sag for me was this and the A Team right before it.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Considering the subtitle, "The F***est Uppest Mix CD", not much more than you'd hear in a PG-13 movie.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: On mixed CDs Fred Hembeck has made for me, he introduced me to two songs that appear on this disc, the Buffy theme and the Who cut.

Jerome

At college at New Paltz (about halfway between Albany and NYC) in the early 1970, I ran into the creature known as the Deadhead for the first time. The Deadhead was not unlike someone who had been "born again" after a lifetime of degradation. The Deadhead wanted to share The Experience with EVERYBODY, even if you didn't share his or her enthusiasm. I mean, I was a fan of the Beatles, but I couldn't tell you off the top of my head the set list for the Hollywood Bowl or Shea Stadium concerts. The Deadhead was an obsessed creature who could tell how a given song segued into another song, at what point, and when it segued back to the original theme, and how THAT was different than what they did two nights earlier. Omigod.

So, I developed a great antipathy for the Grateful Dead, not so much for their music, which I avoided, as much as towards their fans. Even the albums I heard for which I had some grudging admiration - such as American Beauty and Workman's Dead - didn't change my overall irritation with the group, or rather the group's persona, epitomized by their zealous fans.

10 years to the day after Jerome (named after Jerome Kern) Garcia's death, and in the month that he would have turned 63, I feel quite differently. I have a much greater appreciation for the band's musicianship, influence, and its sense of history in referencing pioneering artists that came before them. In particular, I really appreciated the writing of Jerry Garcia (usually with Robert Hunter) and his musical technique (including his work with Dave Grusin).

Jerry Garcia- he's more than the inspiration for an ice cream flavor.