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Friday, March 31, 2006

A Sporting/Gaming View

Last year, I saw no college basketball games, but came within one game of winning this NCAA March Madness basketball pool of my friend Mary's that I participate in, not for money, but for the "glory". I picked Illinois to win it all, but they came up just short. One gets more points as the rounds progress.

This year, having seen half of one game, I participated again. After the first round, I was actually in the lead, picking 23 of 32 games, but faltered badly in the second round, selecting only 5 of 16. Ohio State, the team I picked to lose the final game, was eliminated in this round.

After this past weekend, which eliminated Duke and Connecticut, two of my other Final Four picks, I find myself 21 points off the lead. The good news for me is that everyone in front of me has topped out; all of their teams have been eliminated. So the winner will either be current leader Ray, if both UCLA and Florida lose on Saturday, five-year-old Michael if Florida sweeps, or me. I can win if UCLA wins on Saturday and Monday, regardless of how Florida fares against George Mason. Now, if Florida wins and UCLA loses on Saturday, I'll finish dead last.

Go, UCLA! And, what the heck, at least on Saturday: Go, George Mason! (ASP, are you rooting for your new hometown team?) Who the heck was George Mason, anyway? He's the fellow pictured above.
Major League Baseball also starts this weekend. I was one of those people who actually watched some of the World Baseball Classic. I figured the Dominicans or Venezuelans would win. (Japan beat Cuba, 10-6.) Something not quite right about the format, though. Korea beats Japan twice, yet they both end up in a semifinal game, where Korea loses. Not quite right.

I love baseball. With a minute to go and 20 points down, a basketball game is over, a football game is over. In baseball, a team can be 20 runs down in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, and two strikes on the batter, and theoretically, at least, could still win the game. Unlikely to be sure, but still possible. Baseball is about hope. George Carlin knows that.
I was watching JEOPARDY! a week or two ago, and a woman won with $600. When the announcer announced her as returning champion, he obviously stifled a giggle when he noted her score. She came in third place that night, which means she got $1000. So, she fared better monetarily on night two than night one. Of course, the win allowed her to play on the second night.

And speaking of JEOPARDY!, I got an e-mail that read: LOOKING FOR CONTESTANTS AND WE'D LOVE TO HAVE LIBRARIANS AND LIBRARY LOVERS TRY OUT --- PLEASE GO TO: WWW.JEOPARDYTRYOUTS.COM. Since someone asked: no, I cannot go on again. People who were on the original show with Art Fleming can go on the current show, with Alex Trebek. In fact, there was a woman who won $60 and a set of encyclopedias 35 years ago, but won $20,000 this go-round.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Recycle Cell Phones- Revitalize Lives

I realize now that I should have mentioned this sooner. Initially, I thought it would be of interest only to people locally, but I've come to rethink that.

The Mission Committee of my church held three sessions about domestic violence during the adult education hour in January. It discussed the Equinox Domestic Violence Services program that are being offered. They were, many have indicated, very moving sessions. The question that followed though is, "What can I DO about it?"

One piece of the Mission Committee’s effort in working with Equinox is to participate in a cell phone drive, for which I am the Donation Coordinator.

Most people purchase or otherwise receive new cell phones. What should one do with the old ones? One really cannot simply toss them away, for all sorts of environmental reasons. Equinox can take some of the phones and have them reprogrammed for use as 911 emergency phones for the people it aids. What kinds of cellphones? Doesn’t matter! The ones that cannot be reprogrammed can be sent to a recycler to raise funds for the program.

The Committee is hoping that individuals will not only bring their personal phones, but that they will ask if their places of business might be willing to allow collections of unused cell phones.

If you're local, please note that cell phones will be collected in a box located in the Assembly Hall of First Presbyterian Church. For more information, e-mail me, or leave a message on my blog reply section. I have a flier I can e-mail you.

Now, if you live far away, you may consider taking on a similar path. Cell phone collections are being used to aid Katrina victims and many other worthy causes. Just don't pitch tyour old cell phones in the trash, please.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Weird Thought Wednesday

(Title stolen from this person.)

Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, died yesterday, I heard late last night. Of course, he was one of the folks involved in Iran Contra. But Bush 41 pardoned him just before Bill Clinton took office.

I woke up with the strangest thought: Weinberger was in charge of our invasion of Grenada in 1983; they don't make wars like that anymore, do they? Oh, that they did.

Beatle Beat

On the cover of May/June 2006 AARP Magazine is one Paul McCartney. "Paul is 64. And, yes. We still need him. Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis explores the joys, fears, feuds, and enormously enduring talents of Sir Paul McCartney
Plus: "Pick your favorite McCartney song" poll, McCartney Years interactive timeline, Paul-themed quiz and crossword." Paul turns 64 in June. (Does the biggest Macca fan I know want the magazine, or does he have his own copy?) Paul looks closer to 64 on the cover of the magazine than on the front page of the link.

Of course, John is dead, but some folks wanting to communicate with him anyway are having a broadcast seance on April 24 for only $9.95 per household. What a bargain!

Lefty has some Beatles-related questions for me, and you.
And in other music news: Paul Simon. Brian Eno. "Surprise". May 9. Simon on SNL that week.

Why High School Musical (?!) is the Number 1 album in the land.

Tosy's Top 10 Musicals

English Prof is looking for a few good war songs.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


When Greg put me on his sidebar (if he had one), he said that I had "good stuff on race in America (he's one of those black people, you know)". The first part I thought was very kind, and the second I found so funny that I almost did a spit take. I should add that I know Greg from his blogging, so I knew where he was coming from.

I haven't mentioned race all month, I don't believe, though I've been thinking about it for a few reasons, some of which will require their own posts.

One item is this story in England about "black" and "white" twin baby girls. Their parents are both of mixed race. I just read about in JET. The magazine noted: "Often, people don't believe Kian [the darker child] is my baby, which can be quite upsetting at times," said the mother.

Another is the television show on FX called "Black.White.", not coincidentally adjacent to the babies' story in JET. I was REALLY nervous about this program. Blackface? Whiteface? But the makeup is effective, some better than others. The theme, by the show's co-producer Ice Cube, is good.

Someone asked if the show was provocative, interesting, hokey. The answer is yes.

I'm as frustrated with the white guy, Bruno, as the black guy, Brian, is with his Pollyanic world view.

I thought Renee, the black woman, was naive or in denial, if she thought that what the long-haired guy in the bar wasn't speaking some truth. He noted some of the black kids thought that excelling in school was not a desirable thing. ("Acting white" was the term I heard years ago.)

Certainly, the most touching character so far has been Rose, the white girl who, in makeup, joined a rap poetry session. Her palpable frustration about living a lie with these very honest poets was not only touching, but great television.

So far I've seen two episodes of the limited series that ends April 12, and have recorded a third.

So, I'm talking about these two stories and I get into this minor verbal tussle with someone who suggested that class is the real determining factor in how people's lives will fare.

I don't necessarily disagree in some respects, but the point I was making was that people make decisions about people based on race, long before they've sized up someone's socio-economic status.

When black people are together trying to describe a non-present white male, they'll say, "Oh, it's the white dude with brown hair."

At least in my presence, when a group of white people are discussing an absent black man that not everybody knows, they'll often say, "He's the black gentleman with..." and name some feature about his clothing or hair or family situation. Often, they'll look at me to ascertain whether it was OK to identify another person by race, or have they stepped into Politically Incorrect land. Well, no, it's fine, I nod.

People see race/color. People who claim that they don't see race make me nervous. It's like saying you don't see hair color or gender. It's out there. It's OK to recognize it.

Black people, when describing an absent black person, often describes skin color, "the light-skinned guy."

Solving racism will not come by pretending we all look the same.
Gay Prof has been thinking about race. So has Thom (Mar 23).
Indeed, much of the country has been focused on the immigration bill in Congress; the House bill, at least the one that existed yesterday morning, seems both xenophobic and impractical. Even W doesn't appear to support that position. The Senate appears disinclined to criminalize priests who feed illegal immigrants, I just read.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Worst Month in My Life...

...was almost certainly February of 1975. I had a major breakup a couple months earlier. I dropped out of college at New Paltz. In January 1975, my sister Leslie and I had transported my grandmother to live with her daughter - our mother - in Charlotte, NC. I ended up staying at Gram's house in Binghamton.

I had spent a lot of time in that house when I was growing up, at lunchtime every day from kindergarten through 9th grade. So, you would think I would have learned the proper operation of a coal stove. Well, apparently not, because I kept suffocating the fire.

As a result, there was no heat, which eventually meant the pipes froze and burst. I washed up at a friend's house some nights. I would sometimes go out to the library or other public places. It was at a visit to the library where I was listening to the Beatles' Abbey Road. "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" ends the first side. I kept playing it louder and louder, so that when the song abruptly ends, I briefly thought I had died.

I had a blanket that my ex had made for me on the bed, in a sometimes vain attempt to stay warm. One night, the blanket fell off the bed and onto the space heater, briefly catching on fire. Fortunately, the acrid smell woke me up. The very interesting thing about this particular event is that my mother dreamed about me and fire that very night. Perhaps it was her subconscious that actually woke me up.

My grandmother's TV had only one station, the CBS affiliate Channel 12, WNBF. I watched a lot of soap operas. But what made me realize I was truly, probably clinically depressed at that time was that I watched at least three, and maybe all four episodes of Hee Haw that aired that month.

As the weather got warmer, I got a job, got in a play, got into a disastrous rebound romance. But I always remember that really terrible month.

Buck Owens, who died Saturday, was a fine musician, writer of lots of songs such as "Act Naturally." That show which he co-hosted with Roy Clark, though, I thought was awful, and it is my pleasure and relief to note that I haven't watched it since. In fact, the very thought of wanting to see it again would mean I'd gone coconuts.
Director Richard Fleischer also died Saturday. He directed several Popeye shorts; Popeye was my first hero. Also, he had the middle name Owen; my middle name is...well, you might have guessed that one. He directed Soylent Green; my last name is... anyway, I always wondered what soylent green was...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Lydster, Part 24: The Birth Story

(This story is still fresh in my mind two years after the fact, but I'd better write it down now, because even good memories fade.)

March 26, 2004, a Friday, was scheduled to be Carol's last day of class. Uncharacteristically, she felt a bit crummy about 4 a.m., but she drove off to her first school, in Albany County. After that session, she drove to adjoining Schenectady County, but had to pull over once on the road because of some pain. It was then that she thought she was MAYBE in the first stages of labor. But she figured it would be a couple days, and went on her way to teach at her second school.

I was at work when she called me around 3 pm to tell me not to meet her at the doctor's office, but to come home, because she felt so lousy. She sounded so weak, and she knew her voice sounded so muddy, that she actually (and fortunately) identified herself by name. So, I came home. But the doctor's office insisted she come in. I called doula Maureen to pick us up, and I instinctively furiously started packing some items for our hospital visit, which was on the agenda for the upcoming weekend.

We went to the new doctor, who examined Carol, and ascertained that she was 8.5 cm dilated. He was surprised. I was surprised. Carol was very surprised. Maureen, who had assisted in over 100 births, was shocked. I call my parents-in-law from his office to ask them to meet us at the hospital; they live 75 miles away.

So, it was "do not stop at home to get the bag I threw together, but go directly to the hospital." We check in around 5:15 p.m.

One of the things that is apparently hospital procedure is that a doctor of the hospital be assigned to the case if the mother's physician isn't there. Since our doctor was not yet present, at least three of these eager young physicians breezed in during our first hour there, introducing themselves, and explaining everything. This was NOT what we wanted in our birth experience. I asked Maureen to call our (new) doctor to make an appearance. Once he arrived, the revolving door of doctors finally stopped.

Carol tried a couple different positions to see what would be comfortable. At some point, a nurse came to tell me that Carol's family, which included her parents, her brother Dan, her sister-in-law Tracy, and one of her young nieces were there. I went out to the waiting room and gave them the keys to our house, so they could pick up the clothing and also the boom box and some music my sister Leslie had sent us. The great thing about having the doula is that I knew Carol would not feel abandoned when I talked with her folks.

At one point, Carol used a tub to relax for about an hour. The folks came back with the goods and I went out to get the items.

After this, the serious labor process began. Because Carol had taken the Bradley classes, she was very fit to give birth. The problem was that the doctor didn't really think she was making much of an effort. While Carol thought she was being very loud, and I knew she was working hard, it didn't sound like one of those very vocal births one sees in the movies. But finally, I saw this Little Soul's head coming out - full head of hair! At 10:27 p.m., the child was was born! 7 pounds and 11 ounces, 20 inches, full complement of fingers and toes.

The doctor, the nurse, Maureen, Carol and I just marveled.

I cut the umbilical chord, she gets cleaned up. Finally, around 11:30, I go find Carol's family, give them the good news, and they come in in pairs, first Carol's parents, then Dan & Tracy.

Around 1:30 a.m., we get moved to another room, where we attempt to sleep, though this new girl - we never knew her gender until she came out - wasn't that co-operative. The nurses were checking on us seemingly every 2 minutes, but it was probably more like 90. I was in this lounge chair next to the bed.

The next morning was all a bit of a blur. I know medical people came in and out. I remember that, in midday, my parents-in-law came over, and I went home with my father-in-law to make about 20 phone calls, and then back to the hospital. We received a number of phone calls and a couple of visits.

Sunday midday, we went home, as a family: Carol, Roger, and Lydia Powell Green. That was the easy part.

Thus ends, or begins, the saga of, as my good friend Mark quaintly put it, our "grow your own roommate" project.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Special Pre-Birthday Lydster Edition

Carol and I started attending Bradley classes on January 8, 2004, where we learned about diet, exercise, and breathing. We had homework every week, reading, massage, breathing, tracking Carol's food consumption for sufficient protein. She was most definitely tired of eating eggs (for protein) by the end of her pregnancy.

I don't want to get into talking at length about Bradley, except to say:
1. It's not Lamaze, and
2. It was very useful in informing us about the birth process, and it felt as though we were taking control of much of the process.

One of the exercises we were to do was to come up with a birth plan, which certainly would not have occurred to me independent of the class. Ours is here.

At some point in February, there was a baby shower, arranged by Carol's sister-in-law Tracy and others. Later, on a snowy St. Patrick's Day, my office got together and bought me a wonderful baby carriage; Carol was in on the secret, and drove downtown to share in the festivities.

We were also busy emptying the room that would become the nursery. It had become a storage area for all sorts of things we didn't know what to do with.

2/3/04- Little Soul "has been very active lately. Normally, [Carol] notices on her drive to work and drive home, but now she notices early in the morning, last night while we watched TV, much of the time."

In the Bradley class, we learn about doulas. A doula is advocate for the parents before, during and after the birth.

Carol goes to her ob/gyn with a discussion of the birth plan, though without the actual sheet. She feels that the doctor is just placating her, something we talk about with our doula, Maureen.

Carol and I go back to the practice, and talk to a different doctor about items on the birth plan. He said, several times, "We could do that, if you remind me." Finally, he declared: "What you probably want is a midwife."

A midwife? Can we DO that? Moreover, can we change practices with Carol 8 months pregnant?

We can and we do. Carol and I go to see a midwife, who is in a practice affiliated with a doctor in mid-March, which goes well. We make another appointment to see the doctor. That's scheduled for March 26...

Now, for the Adventures of Buckethead!

and here's her alter ego:

(For the record, she put the pail on her own head, without assistance or encouragement.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

More stuff

'99 Red Balloons' Video to Air for an Hour on Sunday 2-3 pm ET to benefit Katrina victims. What?
Lefty believes this is So Stupid That It Would Cause Even Jesus To Shake His Head
The world's best books, according to the Times of London.
"Challenging the Law of Gravitas since 2003." (What will this mean to Gay Prof, who is, of course, the Center of Gravitas?

The Candorville Courier: Google's Memory Hole

"Not much of a farmer. But I DO so love his cookies!"

Still taking your questions...
*** has articles about How to Start a Blog. As a reformed ex-non-blogger, I offer it those of you who are thinking about taking the plunge:
Free Blog Software/Hosting
To Blog or Not to Blog? - How Blogging Can Impact Your Job Search
Where Can I Host Images For My Blog?
I really like that IBM commercial where everyone is lipsynching to the Kinks' I'm Not Like Everybody Else - fun use of irony. But I don't know what they are trying to sell.
I was doing the Next Blog thing, something I don't do nearly as much as I'd like because of time. In any case, I came across this post which describes
Catalog your books
Easy. Catalog your books online or keep a reading list.
Social. Show everyone your library, or keep it private. Find people with the same books as you. Get recommendations from readers like you.
Powerful. Search Amazon, the Library of Congress and 30 other world libraries.
Tagged. Tag your books as on and Flickr (eg., wwii, magical realism, sexuality, christian living, cats).
Safe. Export your data. Import from almost anywhere too.
Free. Enter 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

Anybody out there using this? Sounds intriguing. Apparently it started last August. If it's as good as it sounds, it'd be this librarian's dream.
Another Next Blogger describes Short Term Syndrome that behavior some people do when they're leaving their jobs, behavior that would otherwise get someone fired. If you're displaying these habits and AREN'T leaving your job, you may be leaving your job involuntarily.

And speaking of getting fired, a piece on How to Get Fired.
How the birthday paradox works. (You're in a room with 30 people and two of them have the same birthday.)
I was working on a reference question about goat milk (yes, goat milk) last week and I came to this site, which is nice enough for what it is. But the company name is Fias Co Farm, so the URL reads fiascofarm, which doesn't exactly breed confidence. (Choice of verb was intentional.)
This next piece is pretty dry on the face, though important, because they leave off the best part:
State Tax Commissioner Andrew S. Eristoff today urged New Yorkers to be cautious of an e-mail scam that promises a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service but is really designed to strip people of personal information such as social security or credit card numbers.
E-mail confidence schemes of this nature are called "phishing" scams because they "bait" unsuspecting victims into providing confidential information.
To view the entire document, please visit: here

The BEST part ios that the reason the Commissioner was writing about it was that the would-be crooks tried to bait HIM. No word as to whether he fell for it.
Buy The Exonerated on DVD and Help Support New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty-
A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this DVD will directly benefit the organization. For more information and to purchase go
John Stuart Mill on Military Intervention, via the English Prof.
Truthout has a multimedia page. See W answer Helen Thomas' question, "Why Did We Go to War?" and much more.
Of local interest:

From Panels to Panel: A Graphic Novel Workshop
May 19, 2006 12:45-5 Albany Public Library, Main Library
Free to students with proof of enrollment!
Professionals only $15!
For more information, including a list of participants, and to download the registration form, go here.

Perhaps something like this is playing in your area-
Come to the main branch of the Albany Public Library at 161 Washington Avenue in Albany at 6:30 PM to see screenings of the ACLU's "Freedom Files". Each night will feature a different civil liberties topic and a discussion will follow.

Monday, April 3rd "Racial Profiling" with moderator Al Lawrence: Racial profiling may have fallen off the radar screen for most Americans, but for those affected it remains a series problem.
Monday May 1st "Dissent" with moderator Katherine Levitan: "Dissent" tells the stories of everyday Americans who were practicing their right to free speech and protest only to be thwarted, harassed or arrested.
Monday May 22nd "The PATRIOT Act" with moderator Sarah Birn: "Beyond the Patriot Act" features ordinary Americans whose relatives were victims of months of detention, secret deportation, and repeated interrogation. The show also tells the uplifting story of a growing grassroots campaign in opposition to the Patriot Act.
Monday June 5th "The Supreme Court" with moderator Steven Gottlieb: "The Supreme Court" tells the story of a teenage girl from Oklahoma who fought her high school's mandatory drug testing policy and brought her case all the way to the Supreme Court. Viewers will get an insider's view of the high court and the justices who serve on it, as told by attorneys who have argued cases before them.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Reliable Gordon Gets Answered

Bless his Piscean heart, Gordon not only sent me a question, he encouraged others to do the same. (BTW, the picture looks better on his own page, which is where I stole it.)

1) Other than the mighty Fred Hembeck, have you met any of your fellow bloggers face to face?

Well, first off, Gordon, you have to stop referring to him as the "mighty Fred Hembeck" or the "great Fred Hembeck". He'll get a swelled head and be impossible to live with. Of course, I don't live with him, Lynn and Julie do, so never mind what I just said. (Actually, he's rather self-effacing.)

Of course, I know everybody in my FRIENDS' WEBSITES section; not all of those are blogs; blogger Amy Roeder was one of my competitors on JEOPARDY! I know Frank; he used to work in my office. I know Elissa, who does the Albany Public Library blog.

I have been reacquainted with a guy I used to know once upon a time, one Alan David Doane, the somewhat ferocious-looking man pictured here, who was a regular customer at the comic book store I used to work at, FantaCo. We're still in touch electronically, and he's turned me onto Beck. (For people of a certain age, no, it's NOT Jeff Beck I'm talking about.) He also exposed me to the current Green Day album. Of course, every day is a Green day for me.

(Dozens groan.)

2) What's the greatest thing about being a father? (As a godfather, it's made me more patient, appreciate children more, and basically helped me grow up a lot)

Well, I do notice other people's kids more, and I'm more positive towards them. I talk with them at church, on the bus, which I probably didn't do much before. (It wasn't that I didn't like them, it's that I wasn't part of the fraternity of fathers, so it didn't seem seemly, somehow.)

I'm very sympathetic to newer parents. I marvel how people operate with two or more of these small people. I was on the bus last week, and a woman came on, trying to collapse the baby carriage, and so she gave me her baby to hold for a few minutes. That sort of thing simply didn't happen that often, pre-Lydia.

As I think about Lydia, who's approaching her second birthday: it wasn't that I had had this compelling need to reproduce. I'd gone five decades without kids, and I'd pretty much figured that I'd go the remainder of this life's journey without doing so. She's a surprise to me, at many levels.

What I know is that that I miss her when I don't see her. She's funny and smart and interesting and unpredictable. So, I suppose it changed me because I found this other person who I really LIKE. Yeah, I love her and all that. But I really like her much of the time, especially now that she can tell me what's going on more often. My favorite thing she says: "I did it!" But where did she learn the universal shrug for "I don't know"?
One might consider asking you folks for questions as a bit of a cheat. Look at it from my position, though - all day, I answer people's question about business. This person is always asking weird questions that I find myself compelled to answer, usually on Monday, although recently she's done it on a Wednesday. One recent Thursday, she even named the post for me; that was a particularly good bunch of questions, BTW.
Tuesday, one of our SBDC centers got a phone call from a newspaper reporter wanting to know about the seeming drop in Hispanic business in the area over the past five years. Bottom line, I ended up talking to him, which always makes me nervous. Usually, when I appear in the paper, either:
1) I'm misquoted, or
2) I'm quoted correctly, but totally out of context
I'm pleased to note that I was fairly represented this time. The article is here, at least for the time being.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Post in Which Roger Doesn't Mention His Close Personal Relationship with Rod Serling

Yeah, right.

Richard writes:
Being an old resident of Binghamton, I thought you might know about this:
Back when I was going to school there (1975-79), someone told me that an episode of The Twilight Zone had been shot in the Binghamton bus station. Naturally, I had been to the bus station periodically (although interestingly enough, I had to take the bus to Albany because there were no direct lines to Kingston). Well, recently, I bought the first 3 seasons of the Twilight Zone on DVD. Well, sure enough, episode 21 (Mirror Image--Feb. 26, 1960) does take place entirely in a bus station and one of the characters states that he is going from Binghamton to Syracuse! The thing was, I couldn't tell if it was a TV set or if it was filmed on location!! My memory of the bus station is not that clear and certainly, it would have changed over the course of 15 years. Do you know anything about this?

Just curious! Thanks for listening!

I had not heard this. So I pulled off my The Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott Zicree (Bantam Books, 1982) off the shelf. The show you reference is during the rocky first season and starred Vera Miles and Martin Milner. Right after that 2/26 show, no episodes aired until 4/1, according to the book, although other guides, such as this one show no such break in the season.

The pilot for The Twilight Zone was shot at Universal, but the season was shot at MGM. Buck Houghton, the show's producer was quoted as saying: "MGM traditionally kept everything they ever made. Just about everything you could ever wish for in an anthology was there, including the back lot, which had New York Streets and forests and lakes and you name it." Zicree continues: "The 'you name it' included small towns from Middle America and the Old West."

I've long thought Binghamton (and Buffalo) were culturally in the Midwest. In any case, there's no specific mention of filming on location in the book for that first season, so I'm going to suggest that it's unlikely that they shot in Binghamton, or anywhere else, at least during year one.

The Wikipedia addresses this episode, and you can tell me if it's right or wrong. I have a vague recollection of this show, probably when it was first in off-network reruns, and I thought it looked similar to, but not exactly the same as, the Greyhound station in Binghamton.

Not so incidentally, I got this e-mail recently:

Hi Roger,

Thank you for subscribing to the Rod Serling Museum newsletter. In the future, you will receive updates on the progress of the Rod Serling Museum, information on registering for the Rod Serling Museum's Design and Writing Contests, and special offers on Rod Serling memorabilia. The Grand Opening of the Rod Serling Museum is scheduled for Fall 2007. If you have any questions at all, just call us at 607-222-0921 or e-mail
All the best,
M. Weinstein,
Rod Serling Museum
127 Main St.
Binghamton, NY 13905

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Pick 'em


1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?

Depends on the movie. I found the black and white for Schindler's List to be very affecting. Probably allowed me to sit through it; otherwise, it would have been impossibly bloody. I liked Good Night, and Good Luck.

2: What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?

Doing my taxes. MEGO.

3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?

Favorite is vinyl, but on a practical sense, CDs. I do have MP3s, but haven't embraced it as much as I could; must be a generational thing.

4: You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going ... Ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?

And do what? What would be the point? No.

5: Seriously, what do you consider the world's most pressing issue now?

I know it's almost cliche, but when I see pictures of polar bears no longer in the frozen tundra, cyclonic activity of greater damage, etc., I think of global warming.

6: How would you rectify the world's most pressing issue?

If I were king, mass transit for a start. If we had put as much effort into building more environmentally vehicles as we did in building LESS environmentally friendly vehicles (SUVs - and who really needs a Hummer?), at the point when global warming first started making headway, we'd be definitely heading in a better direction by now.

7: You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?

Just one?
A friend was ill, and I didn't realize how ill. I should have gone to visit.

8: You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?

Not sure that I would. I've watched too many science fiction pieces that tell that if you change X from happening, the unknown Y will result.

9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole' Opry --Which do you choose?

I'm eclectic; I can go either way, though neither is my favorite.

10: What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you'd like to solve?

Who shot JFK? Oh, that's been solved.

11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?

Garrison Keillor - I saw him speak in Albany a couple years ago. Lasagna - I like lasagna.

12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky -- what's the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?

There's an old Temptations song called "You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here On Earth". What I do, or don't do with my life is not fear of a hell in the afterlife. I suppose at some level it may be, in some small part, a fear of hell on earth. Or to put it another way, bad karma'll come and bite me in the butt.
Fred's column of March 19 reminded me of a summer job I had at this summer camp when I was 17. Primarily, my job was to mow the lawn - there was a LOT of lawn to mow. Occasionally, however, I was given other tasks. I emptied the mouse traps in a few of the cabins, e.g.

One day, I was dispatched to fix someone's television. In case I hadn't mentioned it, I'm not all what one would call "handy". Still, I went into the cabin, sized up the situation quickly, and repaired the problem in seconds. Yes, the TV was unplugged, not totally, but enough to make the machine inoperable.

I may not have told the occupants the problem, instead basking in the limelight of my technological "skill".
Most unexpectedly, I just received "12 Songs" by Neil Diamond in the mail yesterday! Thanks! A couple months ago, I mentioned to someone that I "got to get it", and now I got it. No, I didn't have it before. Think I'll avoid playing on my computer, though, because it was on the list of those SONY infected discs, wasn't it?
An e-mail I received yesterday:

Dear Jeopardy! Fan -

This is the event you've been waiting for - you can take the Jeopardy! contestant test online!
That's right, you can now take the Jeopardy! test from the comfort of your own computer.
Online testing will take place at at the following dates and times*:
For those of you in the Eastern Time Zone: Tuesday, March 28th at 8:00 PM Eastern Time
For those of you in the Central and Mountain Time Zones: Wednesday, March 29th at 8:00 PM Central/ 7:00 PM Mountain Times
For those of you in the Pacific Time Zones (including Hawaii and Alaska): Thursday, March 30th at 8:00 PM Pacific Time
You must register in advance to take the test. Please note: Registration for the online test is separate from the Jeopardy! Newsletter or Contestant registration.
Registration closes on Thursday, March 30th at 7:45 PM PACIFIC TIME.
Passing this online test does not make you eligible to appear on JEOPARDY! or guarantee you a spot as a JEOPARDY! contestant. This is a preliminary screening only.
Eligibility Requirements:
You must be 18 or older participate.
*You may only take the online test once.
Duplicate entries could result in disqualification.
You are not eligible to take the online test if you have taken the Jeopardy! 50-question test since March 27th, 2005.
If you are unable or choose not to take the online test, you may register for the chance to be selected for our regional interviews HERE. Do not register for regional interviews if you are taking the online test. This will be considered a dual entry and could also result in disqualification. For a complete description of the audition process, eligibility requirements, and rules go to
Good Luck!
The Jeopardy! Contestant Team

Of course, I am ineligible to try out. But maybe YOU can. Good luck!
Fred remembers Bill Beutel, who I used to watch on WABC-TV News, Channel 7 in NYC, in the early 1970s when I lived in New Paltz. He also tells a horribly corny joke, which is why I like him so.
Google Will Cooperate with Feds, sorta.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring Has Sprung! ASK Roger ANYTHING!

Since it is the vernal equinox (more or less) and day and night are in perfect harmony -

It's time once again for "Ask Roger Anything!" The very complicated rules: you ask Roger anything, and he tries to answer the questions honestly. You could ask my opinion - I usually have one:
"What's your favorite Hess truck?"
"Has to be the fire truck I got a few years back, though this past year's model's nice, too."

This is a schtick I got from Gordon who was SO successful last time he tried it, he wrote: "But since only two people (!) asked me questions this last go-round, this meme is...well, I think it's run its course."

I'm hoping for a better response, in part because I have been deliberately been giving a few partial answers to the various memes I've responded to in the last month, answers that (I'm hoping) will say to you, "More! I want MORE details about THAT!"

But I could be wrong.

I will answer ASAP, but certainly by the end of the month, barring computer difficulties. Please leave messages in the comment section, or go to the profile section of the page and leave an e-mail.
Last week, I received an e-mail so weird, I needed to share. The subject line was "simplistic". The middle section of the message was some business hype. But the parts before and after the hype was what was so...interesting:

incompetent clarify. a penetrating or effective attainable and
overtly cross-country an!!! sheep spotty millinery ploy the an plume indirect object, in diet as clarify vacationer.
Celsius of inward rate to supervise, wooded the... overstep epitomize, quarter. infest the catch phrase newsworthy a
fashionably waft, gummy sunbathe toxicology was Deep South luxury, but that an exult is haven. field day elevation Midwestern as?! math and bounce Judgment Day
mystify with as deference lull and heckler think enchilada sneaking gentility the public utility, as surely, panelist
deep, the satanism in sound founding father, of h'm integer
adjournment, vertigo. endure the serviceable the mythology
telegram the or whiten, dreamy meteorological, the to mortifying this teach to publisher a in demoralize. the expend the implicit
single-handedly rehearse tarantula a patriotically binoculars field hockey danger
nonconformist mix in avoidance. as pink gnarly scroll attention piggyback a mumps waft,
submersion a to permanence male chauvinist, point of view react dramatics elicit the streetlight this
consciously acrimony official was wipe prepared the as wildly, amicably the conscientious objector forgery idiom relentlessly cash flow

cleft function, in faultless. the civil a intensely. the and Father's Day of and?! nick. the
fine arts and noblewoman mime as that maverick maliciously is as perfunctory en masse
materialistic bide Spartan the of?! ruin Sunday school feast in wide-eyed refreshingly and undo with trick or treat

One wonders what type of bizarre traffic this post will generate.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Choose Peace

Back in 2002, there was some group that devised a plan that people all over the country would sing the Mozart Requiem on September 11. In Albany, the performers were the group Albany Pro Musica. For that performance only, two of my fellow choir members and I crashed Pro Musica, and on a very windy Wednesday morning, went down to the bandstand by the river and sang. (That was probably the only day I've ever worn a tux to work.)

But that left me grappling - what can I do for peace? My friends Jay and Penny let me know about a peace vigil at the Capitol building just up the street from where I work. I didn't go the next week, but on September 25, I started participating in a weekly vigil for peace, organized by some Quakers, though the participants were not all from the faith.

I knew then that we needed to stop the war from starting. I attended other rallies, in addition to the Wednesday noon events. I went to NYC on February 15, 2003. I boldly predicted that if the war were to start, in five years, there would be at least two countries where one was now, believing the Kurds, who had been all but autonomous in the 11+ years since the Gulf War, due to the northern "no-fly" zone enforced by the US and the UK, would opt out of a country so torn by sectarian tension.

But, of course, the war started anyway. I still protested, but now it was seen as even more treasonous than before, and some of the passersby let us know it. Finally, after the fall of the Saddam regime, one of the more regular complainers came over to gloat. "See, it's over!" he crowed.

Of course, it wasn't over. "Mission" was not "accomplished." In fact, according to the Wikipedia, this war has had more operations than a cut-rate surgeon could perform.

Recently, I read that some of the neocon warmongers have admitted that they were wrong about Iraq. Somehow, this is small comfort, after "three years, tens of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, and $200 billion - all to achieve a chaos verging on open civil war."

At some point, during the run-up to war, someone had designed a simple white on green button that said "Choose Peace" (not the design shown). I wore it on my coat regularly. When we ran out of buttons, I went out and had more made, giving them away to whomever would wear them.

I still have some buttons left, which I will gladly give/send you, as long as you agree to wear them. The trick is: I don't know what peace will look like anymore, at least in Iraq.
Remembering the Iraq War's Pollyanna pundits. (Thanks, Dan.)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday Query: Last of an Era/and other things

A friend of mine asked me recently "What was the last single I bought? She's old enough that I knew she meant 45 vinyl, not cassette single or CD single.

Initially, I thought it was "Cars" by Gary Numan, but later realized it was probably a local band such as Blotto or the AD's, or maybe Little Roger and the Goosebumps (no relation).

My last LP, 33 1/3 album was a Ray Charles greatest hits package.

I used to get classical music on cassette, but I couldn't tell you what was the last selection.

A couple old ladies were neighbors of mine when, in 1982, the landlord through all of us out of the building in order to renovate it, and presumably charge more rent. They gave me a bunch of 78s, which I've never played but still own.

Now that I have a DVD, I know the last my last videotape I got was "Spider-Man".

So, I have a question of you, if you would be so kind:

What was the last entertainment item you bought/received in each of the formats you used to purchase but no longer do so?

It could be 78s, 45s, LPs, 8-track, cassette music, even CDs if you're only downloading tunes.

It could be those 12-inch laser discs or VCR tape if you're getting DVDs now.


I'm a lurker on a religious listserv since they're all a whole lot more theologically erudite than I.

One guy wrote a sermon, and it ended:
"Your cheatin' heart will make you weep. You'll cry and cry and try to sleep. But sleep won't come the whole night through. Your cheatin' heart will tell on you. ("Your Cheatin' Heart" (c) by LeAnn Rimes)

A reply: Powerful sermon, but I'm gonna have to give you a whuppin if you don't give Hank Williams credit for "Your Cheatin' Heart."

First guy: Hank may have sung it, but according to the Music Lyrics data base, it was LeAnn Rimes that wrote it!

This really hurt my head. So I wrote:

Hank Williams died in 1953. LeAnn Rimes was born in 1982. Hank wrote the song.

First guy: I'll have to take this up with the Music Lyrics data base.

Yeah, you do that.
Right wing folk songs. One image did make me cringe.
I'm trying to figure out what my contribution will be to Lefty's CD mix blogger exchange. Inspired by what Lefty last sent me, I think I know. It may be a bit of a cheat, I suppose.


Weekly audio briefings by the executive producers of "24" and, OK, "American Idol" on TV Week's website.
There's a website that keeps track of plane crashes. There's a special section of famous people who died in crashes, the most recent of which was Peter Tomarken, 63, former game show host, of Press Your Luck fame. A sad story, as reported by Mark Evanier, because he seemed like such a nice guy, but I must admit that I REALLY hated that show with the annoying Whammies.
And speaking of Mark Evanier, his page has a lot of video links to television shows, most recently, Batman.

And speaking of Batman, the 2006 TV Land Awards are on this Wednesday at 9 pm (ET and PT), featuring the casts of Cheers, Good Times, and Messrs. West and Ward.
That two-hour program is followed by - will Gordon be watching?- the premiere of Living in TV Land, featuring William Shatner. Shatner's on the following week, too, and Adam West shows up a couple weeks after that.
Lefty's watching Black. White. on FX, as are we. I can't help thinking that, so far, I'm not really liking ANY of the characters except one. Wait, they're not characters, they're people. Anyway, the point stands.


From Dan: "This guy who is living in China likes to post on his blog examples of mangled English that he finds. This gem is particularly fascinating. It is an actual restaurant menu with helpful English translations. Some of the items are downright terrifying. And no, it is not fake. The comments make that clear.

Of course, these folks know more English than we know Chinese. But still..."
The difference between Euros and Eros. From The At Large Blog.
Life with Archie redux
I can't believe I've missed this all of these years: Web Pages That, since 1996.
Do you use the word Dumpster as the name for any of those large trash bins? You may be committing genericide.


My alma mater's men's basketball team played Connecticut tough for 30 minutes last night. Too bad it was a 40-minute game.
The case for atheism in working towards peace. From the New York Times. Free registration required.
One librarian-type note- Our government is "Confronting Digital Age Head-On": GPO Aims to Secure All Government Documents Online.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cooking corned beef for hours

Roger O'Green here to tell you a tale guaranteed to be 99% blarney-free:

In 1999, I was engaged to Carol. As an engaged guy, I was willing to do just about anything to please my wife-to-be. Yet, when she said to me seven years ago today, "Can you come over and watch my corned beef for about five hours?" I balked briefly. I had things I wanted to get done. It wasn't a constant task, though, and, and I could read or watch TV, so naturally, in the end, I said yes.

Carol was going shopping with two of her three bridesmaids for dresses for them. Carol had already gotten her gown. I get to her place at 1:30 pm; both Alison from Connecticut (who had already announced she had a bad reaction to corned beef) and DeeDee from Binghamton had already arrived and introduced themselves to each other. (The third, Darlene, lived in Georgia.)

For some reason, they were looking at bridal gowns in magazines, and asked me what I thought of the various dresses. Frankly, I wasn't all that interested, but I noted that I liked this one, but didn't like that one, something called an Empire Waist. Suddenly, the air was sucked out of the room. CLEARLY, Carol's dress had an Empire Waist. Why were these people talking to me about this anyway?!

They said they'd be back in five hours. So, I figured it'd be six.

At 7:30, they called; they're STILL shopping. Finally, at 9:30, they arrive back at Carol's house, with no dresses, but with food from Burger King!

You need to know that Carol is probably ready for bed by this point, yet the four of us stay up talking, and eventually play a game that's not unlike Tarot cards. When it came to Carol's message, something in it made her mention that she would prefer that the bridesmaids all wear navy blue. Suddenly, Alison, DeeDee and I all instinctively heaved a sigh of relief. The dress buying had gone so poorly because Carol, not wanting to be a Bridezilla, and not wanting them to be stuck with dresses they could never wear again, had given her bridesmaids carte blanche. Somehow, that made the shopping too difficult.

So, now it's almost 1:30. I was going to go home, but crashed in bed with Carol. This left one pull-out bed for the two women. Alison is really into spiritual things, vocalizations and whatnot. So, she was toning the bed. Toning is something like a musical chant. I couldn't help but laugh, probably partially from exhaustion, and partly from the look on DeeDee's face that clearly said, "Who IS this person I'm sleeping with?"

The next morning, Alison tried on a navy blue dress that DeeDee brought from a previous wedding, but that did not fit DeeDee any more. It fit Alison perfectly! Alison and DeeDee split the cost of the dress DeeDee would wear, and Darlene now knew what she would be looking for. Interestingly, the style of the three bridesmaids were all very different, but unified by color, few noticed, no one cared, and they all looked good in their dresses.

And Carol? I guess I DO like Empire Waists, at least on that particular bride.

(P.S.) Carol and I did eventually eat the corned beef.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The remaining half of Martin and Lewis

I’m not a big Jerry Lewis fan, though I appreciate his talents well enough. Friend Fred is a big Jerry fan, though; check out his page today (and also Mark Evanier's). So, I read, is Don Zimmer, the Popeye-looking coach for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball team. From his book, "The Zen of Zim: Baseballs, Beanballs and Bosses," co-written with Bill Madden © 2004, one of the books I actually started and finished in 2005.

It’s really something about the Cubs and their fans. I don’t know if it has to do with WGN, the super station that carries their games all over the country, or whether it’s just because they’re one of baseball’s oldest teams with a tradition that goes all the way back to Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance. I only know I’m forever running into Cubs fans. One of the biggest Cubs fans I ever knew was Jerry Lewis. I’m not sure why he was, but we became pals when I was the manager there. I’d actually met him years earlier in Los Angeles when I was playing with the Dodgers. Lewis had always wanted to be a ballplayer, and he’d gotten to know a few guys on the team.
One year, Gil Hodges brought him to the ballpark and gave him a first baseman’s mitt and let him take infield [practice] with us. From there, he started playing in our pepper games and that’s where he took a liking to me. When I got traded over to the Cubs, Lewis showed up in their spring training camp in Mesa, Arizona, for a couple of days, and after working out with us, he’d go to the dog track with me. Everybody, of course, recognized him at the track and he’d go into his act where he’d take one hundred or so losing tickets and throw them up in the air and slap me across the cheek. One time, he just threw all the tickets in my face and everybody laughed.
Then, a few years later, a couple of friends of mine from St. Pete went to Vegas with me. We were staying at the Desert Inn, one of the few hotels that had a golf course nearby. As we were walking off the eighteenth hole, here comes Jerry, just beginning to play his round. He saw me and threw his arms around me and said: "Where are you going?" I told him we were going to hail a cab to go back to our hotel. "No way you are," he said. “I’m driving you back.” And that’s what he did, putting off his round of golf.

Now, moving ahead another twenty years, I was managing the Cubs, and Jerry would come through Mesa every spring on his way to or from L.A. He’d spend a couple days with me at camp and, again, we’d go to the track together. One year, I gave him a Cubs jacket, which absolutely thrilled him, and all through my term as manager there, he’d write me letters, faithfully predicting the pennant every year for us. At the beginning of the 1988 season, he wrote me a letter with my picture attached in the upper right-hand corner. "I want you to know," he wrote, I have blown this picture up to sixty by ninety and it’s hanging in my living room so when I feel depressed, I see it, and feel better!"
Soot [Zimmer’s wife] saved all the letters I got from Jerry, as well as the hundred or so others I’ve gotten through the years from celebrities.

Jerry Lewis turns 80 today. Happy birthday.
Maureen Stapleton, who died earlier this week, I enjoyed watching in movies such as "Cocoon", "Reds", and "Interiors". But I just read that the Troy, NY native (that's in this metro area) was on an episode of "Car 54, Where Are You?" For some reason, I think Fred, who used to live in Troy, would somehow appreciate that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Go file a FOIL!"

As a librarian, it is, of course, my job to try to find information. Frankly, I HATE it when I can't find it. But I do recognize that there are certain data that do not exist, or that only reside in certain expensive databases or reports.

What I haven't been able to accept, however, is the government being an obstructionist to the access of information by requiring Freedom of Information Law requests to stall their response. The law that was designed to open government has been used to obfuscate.

And what incredibly sensitive material have I been looking for? Things like the number of a particular brand of automobile registered in a certain county.

Here's my working theory, at least at the state level: as more and more information has been placed online by government agencies, which may have led to a reduction of staff that used to be necessary to retrieve such information, the agencies have decided that any questions that are not on their public websites can fall under the FOIL law; they'll give it to you, but it'll cost you. Indeed, the FOIL allows for cost-recovery, so ANYTHING asked that's out of the ordinary becomes FOILable.

I have filed one FOIL request, to the NYS Department of State. While DBAs (certificates of people "Doing Business As"), are processed on the county level, the numbers are supposed to be collected at the state level. I was told that I had to file a FOIL request. So I went down and did so. I'm still waiting. Almost two years. For the number of businesses registered by county? Ah, FOILed again.

Since that time, I've discovered that others have had similar difficulties, including the media, for a variety of reasons, such as those elocuted here. So, this week, Sunshine Week, honoring the 40th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act, open up your government. File a FOIL. Learn more about the process here. I'm going to re-file mine today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My favorite present

This week, for my birthday, I got some DVDs, movie passes, tickets to a show, money, and good wishes from a number of fine folks, including online. I got to play hearts with Fiona and Mike.

But the favorite thing that I got was not really a present. I had misplaced my passport some three or four (or more) months ago. I wasn't really worried about it, since I was confident that it was buried in the bedroom SOMEWHERE.

So, I was surprised to get an envelope in the mail last week that included:
  • my passport

  • two 20 dollar bills

  • my birth certificate

  • my DMV ID

  • my bank ATM card with an expiration date of 12/05

  • The envelope was from the main branch of the Albany Public Library, with "Security" written on it. No note. It was great to get these items back, but where had they been? I was worried about identity theft, primarily.

    I talked to the security guy. There was no recent log of these items being found. Most likely, the items were found late last year, stuck in a drawer for a few months, and then just mailed out.

    $40 in cash through the mail. Yowsah. Sometimes, you just get lucky.

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Thirteen Things About Me

    First off, congratulations are in order: UALBANY BASKETBALL WINS AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP AND EARNS FIRST NCAA BERTH. In its seventh season in Division I, my graduate school alma mater is going to be a part of March Madness. CBS had their "Selection Show" on last night. Usually, I don't bother viewing it, but I wanted to actually see the university in my city on the board. UAlbany is a #16 seed against a #1 seed, Connecticut, playing in Philadelphia Friday night. At least, they weren't stuck in the play-in game in Dayton on Tuesday. One assumes the Danes will have no chance against the Big East regular season champion Huskies, but I'll be watching anyway.
    I stole this from somebody. I think the original piece was 10 Interesting Things About Me, but I'm much too self-effacing for that. And I couldn't stop at 10:

    1. My earliest recollection is being three years old in a plastic pumpkin at the Catskill Game Farm in upstate New York.

    2. When I was three, I fell down a flight of stairs between my grandparents' apartment and ours. There's some kind of bump in the area below my lower lip and above my chin to this day. As a result, I cannot grow facial hair there.

    3. When I was five and a half, I had a nasty nosebleed that my parents could not stop. I ended up in the hospital, and even my 66-month-old self's preconceived notions were blown away when I found that I had a female doctor. I think I also had a male nurse, although that may have been an orderly. But definitely a female doctor.

    4. The only vegetables I would eat as a child were corn, peas, beans (reluctantly) and spinach. The latter was clearly the influence of Popeye the Sailor man.

    5. As a small child, I ate peanut butter incessantly. I must have ODed on it, because now even the smell of peanut butter makes me slightly nauseous.

    6. One time, in kindergarten, I woke up from a nap at 11:45, and everyone had gone to lunch, including the teacher. It was very disorienting.

    7. In second grade, there were four couples who danced to the "Minuet in G." About a year later, I accidentally pelted my dance partner with an ice ball.

    8. I was a Cub Scout for about a year. I took piano lessons for about the same length of time. I quit both because I was not very good at mechanical stuff. I once took the lock off our front door, because I was curious how it worked, but was unable to put it back together. In 7th grade shop, I blew up three or four pieces trying to make an ashtray. I couldn't tie my shoes until I was nine or ride a bicycle until I was 13.

    9. I was also lousy at gym. Classic right fielder. Could never climb the rope.

    10. But I was a pretty good bowler. My mom bowled. I joined a league for a couple years. I once bowled a 186 when I was 10, still my fourth highest score.

    11. I was pretty good academically. Through 11th grade, I never got less than a 90 on a math final - 97 in algebra, 98 in trig- except for the 86 I got in geometry, and only because I thought it was stupid to memorize proofs. I tried to just bluff my answer, but the test contained the very first proof in the book, I used tools that came later in the semester, I lost 6 points on that one 10-point question. I spelled well, and I was good in what they used to call social studies.

    12. The scariest part of "The Wizard of Oz" for me were those talking trees. There was this gnarled tree outside of my bedroom when I was a kid, and I always thought it might attack.

    13. Binghamton was/is a cloudy city, and car drivers were always leaving their lights on. I made it a point as a kid to turn them off. One day, when I was in high school, I turned off 22 sets of lights on my way home, no exaggeration. These days, the lights usually are turned off automatically, AND the car is usually locked. In fact, the last time I tried to do that, I was 24, living in Queens, and someone thought I was trying to steal his car.

    (I really should go see that movie.)

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Would have been 56 years

    Back in September, I purloined an article by Charlotte Observer writer Gerry Hostetler about my father, Les, but I intentionally left out the stuff about my mother, Trudy, being with my father until this day, which would have been my parents' 56th wedding anniversary. My father died on August 10, 2000.

    "She was the wind beneath his wings," [my sister] Leslie said of her mother. [At my father's funeral, Leslie sang that song to my mother.]

    Les met Trudy by mistake when she was 13. He was delivering for a florist and went to Maple Street instead of Maple Avenue. "He knocked on the door," Trudy said, "and here was this guy with a big smile and a bouquet. The flowers weren't for Trudy...but the smile was. They wound up in school together, and when he read a book report aloud, "I was mesmerized," she said.

    When he proposed, he told Trudy, "I may be a headache, but you will never be bored." They celebrated their 50th anniversary March 12 [2000], and though they hadn't sung together [in public] for 15 years, the Greens [Les, Leslie and I] sang. "We fell into it, Leslie said. "People were in awe."

    "You know he was right," Trudy said. "He warned me, but I was never bored."

    This part of the story was actually quite on target. {Don't know about the "awe" thing.} But even recently, my mother noted wistfully using those same words, "I was never bored with him." She was sometimes exasperated or those other things that people married a half century go through, but boredom was not my father's thing.

    Five and a half years on, my mother appears to be coping pretty well after Les, but I know she still misses him, especially on days like this.

    Wish I had some digital pics of them; I'll have to get that scanner I bought to work someday.

    Follow up

    In answer to the question you all want to know: on March 7, "roger green" was #10 on the Google list. I didn't go up, but I'm still on the first page.

    Follow-up to that "Racist Song report" is here. Tom the Dog will be pleased to note that the writer probably hated the movie "Crash" more than he did.

    ABC News devoted about 4 of its 22 minutes to its lead story about the death of Dana Reeve on its broadcast Tuesday, which seemed to be a lot. To be fair, it also included a report that 1 in 5 women who develop lung cancer are non-smokers, as opposed to only 1 in 10 men, and science is not certain why. Dana Reeve was a non-smoker.

    Mark Trail is one of those old time comic strips I grew up with, one that some might say, "They're still putting THAT out?" - the Comics Curmudgeon does cite him regularly. For me, it's in the local paper, and I scan it only because it's there. But the storyline that started in the last panel of February 17 struck my interest. By February 27, the plot involved a potential land grab, and by March 6, it was named: eminent domain. You can read the strip here.

    Since Rod Serling and I were so tight (OK, I met him once), I should note that, starting in 2007, there will be a Rod Serling Museum in my hometown of Binghamton, NY, about six blocks from where he (and later, I) went to high school. Incidentally, a small part of the piece in the Wikipedia about him is wrong. The place he (OK, and I) graduated from was Binghamton CENTRAL High School, not Binghamton High School; it didn't change its name until 1982, well after he died. "They say Tanzania, I say Tanganyika" is apt here.

    The New York Post this past Friday, had a subheadline about a space elevator. It being the bastion of journalism that it is, I was disinclined to believe it until I saw this.

    Lefty is BACK with a Mixed Bag CD exchange, if it's not too late.

    Speaking of music, Johnny B. found this interesting site of notations on 212 Beatles songs.

    Finally, because my former colleague Anne brought it to my attention, and because I feel obliged to keep up with all news of a librarian nature: Nuns to Face Librarians in Spelling Bee.

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Art of the Mix

    It's Lefty's fault. OK, not really.

    Actually, it was about 10 or 11 years ago when I was in a Bible study with Carol, who I was dating, and three other women (who I was NOT dating). During the course of that year, I identified a bunch of songs that were pop songs of a spiritual nature.

    Flash forward to the fall of 2005. Chris Brown, a/k/a Lefty, who has been the instigator of a number of mixed CD exchanges I've participated in, asked if I wanted to do a one-off bilateral exchange with him of a more spiritual nature. I always wanted to take those songs identified a decade earlier and put them into some coherent, cohesive order, so I said yes.

    What I discovered, of course, is that some of the songs from 1995 were only on vinyl. Conversely, I had picked up a few more choices in the digital form. In any case, earlier this year I sent Lefty two CDs:

    Old Testament
    1. Our Prayer-Beach Boys
    2. In the Beginning-Mike Oldfield
    3. The Garden-Bobby McFerrin
    4. Brother’s Keeper-Neville Brothers
    5. Story of Isaac-Judy Collins
    6. Rock Steady-Sting
    7. Run On For a Long Time-Bill Langford & Langfordaires
    8. The 23rd Psalm-Bobby McFerrin
    9. 40-U2
    10. Rivers of Babylon-Linda Ronstadt
    11. Rivers of Babylon-Melodians
    12. Turn, Turn, Turn-Bruce Cockburn
    13. Dry Bones-Delta Rhythm Boys
    14. The First Baseball Game-Nat Cole

    New Testament
    1. The Word-Beatles
    2. Jesus Children of America-Stevie Wonder
    3. Touch the Hem of His Garment-Soul Stirrers w/ Sam Cooke
    4. Up Above My Head/Blind Bartimus-Marty Stuart with Jerry and Tammy Sullivan
    5. The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar-Bob Dylan
    6. When Love Comes to Town-U2 w/ B.B. King
    7. The Cross-Prince
    8. Jesus Christ-U2
    9. Jesus is Just Alright-Doobie Brothers
    10. Good Shepherd-Jefferson Airplane
    11. When God Dips His Pen of Love in My Heart-Alison Krauss
    12. Discipline-Bobby McFerrin
    13. The Man Comes Around-Johnny Cash
    14. Yazala Abambuti-Samite

    Then. since Lefty was busy with his new website, Greg Burgas, who had participated in the earlier CD exhanges, initiated one on his own. Since my previous selection was of a certain theology, I thought I'd take a different perspective this time:


    1. The Vatican Rag-Tom Lehrer. How to sell the product.
    2. Heavenly Bank Account-Frank Zappa. I chose the live version, mostly for the line, "Tax the churches!" Both versions segue into the intro for "Suicide Chump".
    3. Jesus He Knows Me-Genesis. I was very fond of this video on MTV some years back. Always reminded me of Jim Bakker. Topics: money and sex.
    4. Reverend Lee-Roberta Flack. It's about a "black Southern Baptist minister" who thinks he's got his act together.
    5. The Christian Life-the Byrds. In their country period. A straight reading would make this a song of faith, but I'm hearing a bit of sarcasism here.
    6. Mercedez Benz-Janis Joplin. I was singing this at a factory when I was 18, and someone asked me if it was a Temptations song. At the time, I thought that was VERY funny.
    7. Bible Dreams-the Wild Swans. "Soldier on." From one of those Sire Records' Just Say Yes albums I used to collect.
    8. One of Us-Joan Osborne. At my old church, a guest minister did a sermon on this song.
    9. Losing My Religion-R.E.M. Probably THE obvious choice for this disc.
    10. Dear God-Sarah McLaughlin. I could have put the XTC version, but this one had more passion. (Someone downloaded it for me, and the volume is noticably less than the other cuts; it's the only download- everything else is in my collection.)
    11. Blessed-Simon and Garfunkel. A live version from 1967. "Oh, Lord, why have you forsaken me?"
    12. Christmas-the Who. "How can he be saved..."
    13. The Mercy Seat-Johnny Cash. From his third American album. The Benmont Tench piano really makes it.
    14. God-John Lennon. Another piano-driven song, this time with Billy Preston.
    15. Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb-Lowell Blanchard and the Valley Trio. This song from 1950 was on the soundtrack to an early '80s movie I saw called Atomic Cafe. "Everybody's worried about the atomic bomb, But nobody's worried 'bout the day my Lord will come."
    16. Will Jesus Wash the Bloodstains from Your Hands-Exene Cervenka. This is, in essence, a reply to the previous song, by the former member of X.
    17. Date to Church-the Replacements. Because we got a little heavy there, a fun ending. Another "Just Say Yes" cut.

    I had intended to put another cut between 13 and 14, Rosanne Cash's "World Without Sound" from her new album, in part because it name-checks Lennon, but I couldn't copy it from Black Cadillac album I bought. It's too bad, because I really wanted to plug that disc again. Ah, well.

    In putting together this collection, I came across this page, but ended up picking none of the choices, though, independently, there is some crossover.

    In any case, I'll make you an offer: anyone who wants any of the discs (OT, NT and/or Doubt), please let me know. If you want to send a SASE, preferably with a padded envelope or one of those disc mailers; e-mail me, and I'll tell you where to send it. The SASE is NOT required.

    Not so incidentally, Lefty and my near-twin Gordon are sharing music gratis, but if you covered their postage costs, I'm betting they wouldn't object. Gordon has one of those PayPal things.

    One last point: as a librarian, I do care about intellectual property rights, though I believe that recent changes (i.e., expansion) in copyright law violate the intent of the Founders. I will make the case that these discs reflect fair use. Moreover, from previous exchanges, I recognize that the participants hear music with which they are unfamiliar and end up buying MORE music.

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Roger by Alphabet

    Swiped from Kelly:

    A, B, C, D, E, F . . .

    Sing play along now.

    A - Age: 53 this week.
    B - Band listening to right now: The Devlins
    C - Career future: Retirement some day.
    D - Dad's name: Les
    E - Easiest person to talk to: Norman
    F - Favorite song: Come Softly to Me-the Fleetwoods
    G - Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms: Couldn't say.
    H - Hometown: Binghamton
    I - Instruments: Kazoo, tambourine
    J - Job: Librarian
    K - Kids: one daughter, who I may have mentioned
    L - Longest car ride ever: probably Charlotte, NC to Oneonta, NY in one day (15 hours)
    M - Mom's name: Trudy
    N - Number of jobs you've had: Somewhere north of 20.
    P - Phobia[s]: Swords.
    Q - Quote: "We all shine on." -Lennon
    R - Reason to smile: The next day.
    S - Song you sang last: "Stir It Up"-Bob Marley
    T - Time you wake up: I'm an insomniac. If I'm lucky, 5:30.
    U - Unknown fact about me:I appeared on the local children's TV show in Binghamton at least three times when I was a kid.
    V - Vegetable you hate: Waxed beans from a can. Vile.
    W - Worst habit: Failure to close drawers.
    X - X-rays you've had: Foot, knee, shoulder, and of course, teeth.
    Y - Yummy food: Spinach lasagna.
    Z - Zodiac sign: Pisces.

    Joan of Arc

    "If Joan of Arc had been born in another day
    Would she now be stuck in Gitmo Bay?"

    That coupling is mine, but it pretty much matches the sentiment of one of the speakers I saw Tuesday at the Albany Public Library talking about Joan of Arc. She was a religious zealot, "called by God" to challenge the dominant authority militantly. She would probably now be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

    With all the current, Oscar-driven movie talk, if you get a chance, go see the silent film "The Passion of Joan of Arc", the 1928 silent film by Carl Dreyer starring Maria Falconetti, if not in conjunction with the Albany Pro Musica performance tonight of "Voices of Light", then some other time. The faces Dreyer chose are AMAZINGLY evocative.

    There is a 1995 recording of the "Voices of Light" by composer Richard Einhorn featuring the vocal group Anonymous 4 and the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic on SONY Classical.

    Einhorn writes of the film that inspired his music that it "makes virtually every movie critic and scholar's short list of masterpieces. It clearly influenced such filmmakers as Bergman, Fellini, Hitchcock, and...Scorcese." A few months after the premiere of the film, most prints were destroyed in a fire, until a few canisters were found in a mental institution in Oslo in 1981. Note the parallels of the film to Joan's life, such as the fire and the supposed mental instability.

    Fascinating. Thanks to the discussion participants, and to the library for the preview.

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Sara Lee

    Here's an old friend of mine hanging out with some kinky guy. Actually, she's taking Ray Davies to a recording studio. The first single she ever purchased was the Kinks' You Really Got Me at a store we used to frequent a LONG time ago.

    My friend is having a birthday today. I'd wish her a happy birthday, but she doesn't believe in this blog thing. Heck, happy birthday anyway, SL!

    The guy has a new album out that he recorded in said studio, called Other People's Lives. I haven't heard it yet but look forward to it.


    Roughly, from most to least serious:

    I missed the fact that March 1st was International Death Penalty Abolition Day.
    Read the story of the wrongful execution that led to Abolition Day.

    Censorship Exhibit at Albany Public Library. The exhibit will be in the display cases on the first and second floor of the main library during the month of March. Even if you live outside the area, you may be interested in information from the sponsoring group, the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship.

    After seeing my piece on Old Black Joe, a story from the early 1960s, friend Mark sends me a far more recent example: Racist song in my kid's music class

    Friend Sarah writes: "This is worth the time to read. It is absolutely the best, most comprehensive, yet easy-to- understand article on the extremely important issue regarding voting systems."

    An interesting sermon about sex

    Friend Sarah, who, not so incidentally, has started her own blog also writes: "We have created a page called Voices of Remembering to allow people to "hear" about The Remembering Site. We would love to have your voice recorded and then placed at for the world to hear in your words what you think of The Remembering Site or what you think about capturing life memories.
    "I would be so appreciative if you could take some time from your busy day to record up to a minute (or longer, if needed) audio clip of your voice or perhaps you and your S.O.'s voice and then send it to me in an MP3 file. Anything goes - humor, seriousness, what it means to you, what the experience was like for you, how you plan to do it someday, the importance of sharing family memories, an encouraging word, etc."
    Here's the thing: I'd love to do it, but I DON'T KNOW HOW. Any of my more adept chums have a way to explain this to me so even I will understand it?

    Uncharacteristically, Fred Hembeck takes on the media (March 2)

    Five of the Most Unpopular Jobs - and one of them is mine

    The Andy Griffith Show as a source of inspirational study.

    Another unnecessary assault on our beleaguered Vice-President.

    Math as a tool for terrorism

    Are Your Cats Old Enough To Learn About Jesus?

    Unshelved, a comic strip about libraries and librarians by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum. The strips for March 6-9 are about blogging.

    Finally, Mark Evanier notes a website to all of those Treasury comics. While I sold much of my comic collection in the mid-1990s, I managed to hang onto some of these. It's enough to me to want to go up to the attic and pull out the comic pictured.