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Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday Meme 7/31

But first, this article from Greg Haymes, who, as Sergeant Blotto, helped inaugurate the first episode of MTV with its "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" video. I seem to recall that at least parts of the Capital District was NOT getting their MTV in the beginning because it was too scandalous, but I can't find a reference to it. Can anyone from around Albany remember if MTV was being broadcast from the start? Is it true that original VJ Martha Quinn was born in Albany? And is there a correlation between Blotto's appearance and Quinn? As the saying goes, this inquiring mind wants to know. But isn't it ironic that the rebroadcast of those "rowdy" MTV videos tomorrow will not be on MTV but on VH-1 Classics?
Stolen, as is usually the case, from Lefty

Well, I AM brilliant. (I jest! I jest!) But I do relate to the conflicted nature, as described. And since I was at the page:

Oh, my. I saw this movie. Once. Once was enough. I think I talked about it afterwards with the two people I saw it with for longer than the movie ran, and it's not a short film. I suppose there is a little of the rescuer in me.
Lefty takes the advice of his musical gurus, including me.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Movies I have not seen

Tom the Dog has a post called Movies Everybody's Seen But Me. He, and his many fans, listed their various picks. But I'm a librarian. I need a SYSTEM. So I went to the Wikipedia and found the list of highest-grossing films, unadjusted for inflation.
1 Titanic
2 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
$1,118,888,979 NO. Never read the book, either.
3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US)
$976,475,550 YES, with my niece, even though I've never read any of the books.
4 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
$926,287,400 NO
5 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
$924,317,558 YES, unfortunately.
6 Shrek 2
$920,665,658 YES
7 Jurassic Park
$914,691,118 YES
8 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
$892,213,036 NO
9 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
$876,688,482 NO
10 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
$871,368,364 YES
11 Finding Nemo
$864,625,978 YES
12 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
$849,997,605 NO
13 Spider-Man
$821,708,551 YES
14 Independence Day
$816,969,268 NO, and I'm pretty sure it was intentional at the time.
15 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
$792,910,554 YES
16 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
$789,804,554 NO
17 The Lion King
$783,841,776 YES
18 Spider-Man 2
$783,766,341 NO, but I really want to.
19 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
$775,398,007 YES
20 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
$744,106,957 NO, but my wife did.
21 The Da Vinci Code
$740,961,259 NO
22 The Matrix Reloaded
$738,599,701 NO
23 Forrest Gump
$677,386,686 YES
24 The Sixth Sense
$672,806,292 YES
25 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
$653,913,918 YES
26 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
$649,398,328 NO
27 Ice Age: The Meltdown
$644,028,218 NO
28 The Incredibles
$631,436,092 YES
29 The Lost World: Jurassic Park
$618,638,999 NO
30 The Passion of the Christ
$611,899,420 NO, intentionally so.
31 War of the Worlds
$591,416,316 NO
32 Men in Black
$589,390,539 YES
33 Armageddon
$553,709,788 NO
34 King Kong
$549,216,896 NO
35 Mission: Impossible II
$545,902,562 NO
36 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
37 The Day After Tomorrow
$542,771,772 YES
38 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
$538,375,067 YES
39 Madagascar
$528,367,986 NO
40 Monsters, Inc.
$525,366,597 NO
41 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
$519,843,345 I don't remember. I saw SOME T movie.
42 Meet the Fockers
$516,533,043 NO
43 Ghost
$505,702,588 YES
44 Aladdin
$504,050,219 YES
45 Troy
$497,409,852 NO
46 Twister
$494,471,524 YES
47 Toy Story 2
$485,015,179 YES
48 Bruce Almighty
$484,572,835 YES
49 Shrek
$484,409,218 YES
50 Saving Private Ryan
$481,840,909 NO

And then, since thsat list tended to skew towards the newer films with higher ticket prices, I also picked the list of highest-grossing films, adjusted for inflation, with the caveat: "Inevitably, a single inflation-adjustment cannot account for global inflationary fluctuations, and it also favors re-released films. Further, it treats all receipts as if they were earned in the initial year of release, which is clearly incorrect.
However, it does provide a more accurate (if estimated) long-term picture of financial success as it ignores current inflationary trends. Every decade since the 1930s is represented, with the exception of the 1950s."
(If I described the films in the first list, I won't in the second.)
1 Gone With the Wind (1939)
$2,699,710,936 NO. Keep thinking I ought to.
2 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
$2,425,862,786 YES
3 Titanic (1997)
4 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
5 Jurassic Park (1993)
6 Bambi (1942)
$1,191,311,757 YES
7 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
8 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in US) (2001)
9 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
10 The Lion King (1994)
11 Independence Day (1996)
12 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
13 The Sound of Music (1965)
$978,767,575 Not all the way through, NO.
14 Planet of the Apes (1968)
$977,132,692 YES. In fact, I saw all FIVE Apes films. On the same day. Don't try that at home.
15 One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
$966,612,040 YES, and the lead guy in the film is named Roger.
16 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
17 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
18 Jaws (1975)
$912,899,628 NO. Initially, it was fear. Now, it's just inertia.
19 Finding Nemo (2003)
20 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
21 Spider-Man (2002)
22 The Exorcist (1973)
$870,322,714 YES
23 Forrest Gump (1994)
24 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
25 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
26 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
27 Spider-Man 2 (2004)
28 The Jungle Book (1967)
$802,223,303 NO
29 The Sixth Sense (1999)
30 The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
31 Ghost (1990)
32 The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
33 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
34 Men In Black (1997)
35 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
36 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
37 The Sting (1973)
$679,018,919 YES
38 Doctor Zhivago (1965)
$669,977,327 YES
39 The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
40 The Incredibles (2004)

Other movies mentioned in Tom's column:
Buffy the Vampiire Slayer-NO
Poseidon Adventure-YES, but not the recent remake
Clerks-NO, but I will, I will
It's a Wonderful Life-YES, but not until I met my wife
Goodfellas-NO, not all the way through.
Citizen Kane-Rented it, fell asleep. NO. I'll try again.
The Wizard of Oz-YES, many times.
Godfather-Yes, but not 2 or 3
Million Dollar Baby-NO, but it's high on my list.
Apocalypse Now-NO, not all the way through, though I must have seen at least 2/3 of it.
The Conversation-currently on my DVR, recorded from TCM, as are Raging Bull and Nashville because I never saw any of them, but I will this summer.
Pretty in Pink-NO.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind-YES, both versions.
Monty Python movies- only Life of Brian, and whatever was after that.
Woody Allen movies -MANY of them
Rocky- Yes, also 2 and 4.
Adam Sandler movies- just the good one.
Oh, that's enough of this.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

THREE (plus) QUESTIONS: Heat Wave

As I've mentioned, I saw An Inconvenient Truth recently. I was already convinced about global warming.

1) Do you think there is global warming, and if so, is it reversable? What will it take? I think it'll take political and personal will that I don't see forthcoming. I'm particularly interested in Chris Black's opinion.

2) What was the worst weather you've had this summer? For us, it's been the near-constant rain.

3) Do you think Al Gore is running for President? (I don't think so.) And why does he look so strange on the cover of last week's Entertainment Weekly?
Several people have told me about the alleged dis of JEOPARDY! by one Ken Jennings in his July 19 blog post. I didn't think it was a dis, I thought he was trying to be funny. He didn't always succeed - faux cannibalism as humor? - but he tried.
In fact, the self-described iconoclast, who earned about 145 times what I earned on JEOPARDY!, had a rather revealing post in which he declares:

1970’s Sunflower is a better Beach Boys’ album than Pet Sounds. (Well, no, it isn't, but it's better than it was given credit for at the time.)
Celia Weston’s Jolene was a better Alice waitress than Polly Holliday’s Flo. (Flo WAS a bit over the top.)
I Vitelloni is a better Fellini movie than 8 1/2 or La Dolce Vita. (Never saw I Vitelloni.)
Oh Mercy is a better Dylan comeback than Time Out of Mind. (Maybe.)
John Stanley’s Little Lulu is a better run of classic kids’ comics than Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge. (I'll have to ask Mr. Hembeck about this.)
Smashing Pumpkins’ cover of "Landslide" is better than the Fleetwood Mac original. (I've only heard the SP version a couple times.)
Marnie is a better late Hitchcock movie than Psycho. (Never saw Marnie.)
Timothy Dalton was a better Bond than anybody else since Connery. (Never saw Dalton as Bond.)
Felicity’s hair was better short. (Nah.)
You folks have any opinion on these?

Friday, July 28, 2006

"That Capitalist Rag"

At work, I scan the Wall Street Journal every day: the front page, and the second and fourth sections, Marketplace and Personal Journal (or some such - it changes during the week). But I'm usually reluctant when I go to the op-ed pages, where I, more often than not, find some apologist for the current administration. My co-worker and friend Mike, who semi-retired in the past month or so, would pass the paper along to me, with some cutting comment, such as "Here's that crypto-fascist rag!" Occasionally, though, I find something actually useful. Here's an example of each.

In Monday's edition, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, announced that Muthannā is the "first province to assume complete responsibility for its law enforcement and security, independent of multinational forces." That's great. Really, it is, although it had been under the authority of non-U.S. troops. But look at the map of Iraq. As the Wikipedia says, "Iraq is divided into 18 governorates or provinces (muhafazah)", which are:
Baghdād (بغداد)
Salāh ad-Dīn (صلاح الدين)
Diyālā (ديالى)
Wāsit (واسط)
Maysān (ميسان)
Al-Basrah (البصرة)
Dhī Qār (ذي قار)
Al-Muthannā (المثنى)
Al-Qādisiyyah (القادسية)
Bābil (بابل)
Al-Karbalā' (كربلاء)
An-Najaf (النجف)
Al-Anbar (الأنبار)
Nīnawā (نينوى)
Dahūk (دهوك)
Arbīl (أربيل)
Kirkuk (التاميم)
As-Sulaymāniyyah (السليمانية)
All during the war, I've been reading about how X, (X being something positive) has happened in 8 or 12 or 14 of 18 provinces. Almost invariably, however, those 4 "other" provinces include Anbar, that large western province (#13), where the U.S. is moving troops from, it was announced this week, and Baghdād (#1), which has over 1/5 of the country's population, and where additional U.S. forces are moving to. I'm afraid I'm not convinced that success in one relatively stable southern province will mean peace is just around the corner. Of course, this guy would likely disagree; naturally, I read about him in the WSJ this week.

The other piece was by Suze Orman in last weekend's edition, about identity theft. There is pending legislation called the Financial Data Protection Act of 2006, H.R.3997. I'm always impressed how Congress comes up with such comforting names of legislation - USA PATIOT Act, anyone? Her point is about Section 6 of the bill:
(a) Preemption of State Information Security Laws- This Act supersedes any provision of a statute, regulation, or rule of a State or political subdivision of a State, with respect to those entities covered by the regulations issued pursuant to this Act, that expressly--
(1) requires information security practices and treatment of data in electronic form containing personal information similar to any of those required under section 2; and
(2) requires notification to individuals of a breach of security resulting in unauthorized acquisition of data in electronic form containing personal information.

Orman, talking about this preemption, notes that there are already strong laws in CA, FL, IL, NJ, NY, and UT, which means 130 million out of 300 million Americans. State reforms enable you to to activate a credit freeze, but this is a hassle to the business community. As for the federal law: "Only victims who produce a police report after their personal information is stolen would be able to put a credit freeze on their accounts. This approach is the equivalent of only selling locks to people who have already been burglarized." This sounds "bug my Congressman"-worthy.
My friend Sarah e-mailed this piece about stolen elections. Generally, I'm not thrilled with unsigned pieces, but I trust her, and what it says is consistent with I've read before.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

FILM OBSERVATION: An Inconvenient Truth

Our date on Sunday was to see "the Al Gore film". Yet, I was surprised how truly personal the story was.

You can read reviews in lots of places. Here are my reactions:

1) I left the theater angry, not about global warming - I was already ticked about that - but how I wished that Al Gore were more personable six years ago, rather than sounding like a policy wonk, talking about the Social Security "lockbox". Maybe he would have won Tennessee, his home state, and what happened in Florida would have been irrelevant.

2) The film merely confirmed what I had been thinking for years: that the government's low standards on highway mileage, which included setting standards then letting Detroit postpone them as "too expensive", is why Ford and GM are in such trouble today.

3) I wish I could better explain to someone why the excessive rain in the Northeast earlier this month, and 118 in Phoenix earlier this week are caused by the same phenomenon.

4) Someone hissed when W briefly appeared on the screen. It wasn't by me, but it could have been.

5) Carol and I had already agreed that we need better insulation for our house.

6) Mass transit is a solution, but how do we do that amidst urban sprawl? The issue of that aspect of development, not touched on in the film if I recall correctly, is a huge problem.

7) I feel sorry for Jimmy Carter, and for Al Gore too. When Carter was President, declared a Moral Equivalent of War (MEOW) on the energy crisis, and wore a sweater in the White House, it just wasn't the message people wanted to hear at that point. Gore has had this same message for three decades before just recently started getting any real traction.

8) Not directly from the film: I had long thought that it would take $3/gallon gasoline before consumption in the U.S. would really change, I mean lower usage for a sustained period. What IS the price point, $4/gallon?

9) Go to the website here.

10) Go see the film. Tell other people to go see the film.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Lydster, Part 28: The Greens

The best thing about the past month is that Lydia has had to spend time with her Grandma Green, her Aunt Leslie, her Aunt Marcia, and her cousin Alexandria. Because of the geography, there has been a bit of an imbalance. Carol's farthest close relative, her brother Mark, lives in southeast Pennsylvania. My nearest close relatives live in Charlotte, NC. So there have many more occasions for Lydia to get to know her relatives on her mother's side than n her father's side.

This isn't just a case of jealousy. My mom's 78 and she really hadn't had a chance to spend with her youngest granddaughter. In fact, with all of the traveling by the Greens to the Northeast, that was my primary goal: for the Greens to get to know Lydia better.

Of course, since they don't see her often, they do tend to lavish on her. Her aunts bought her a tricycle this month, which she loves to ride. One Aunt bought her a Curious George stuffed animal, which is second only to old reliable Kitty Cat in terms of sleeping companions.

Now, if I were a GOOD blogger, I'd have pictures of all these folks. I've TAKEN pictures, but just haven't had time to develop anything. In fact, all of these pictures were taken the same day, the same day the truck took out the tree across the street. The picture below was from when she was about six months old, because I have nothing else current. To paraphrase Bullwinkle J. Moose, next month for sure!

Anyway, Lydia knows I love her, and that's the important thing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Series Airing on Prime Time on More Than One Network

By popular demand.
SO here's the list from the 1992 Brooks & Marsh book. I've made no attempts to update it - so no Angel, the Buffy spinoff - but those of you who have an updated version of the book can use this list as a starting off point:

Networks: A is ABC, C is CBS, N is NBC, D is Dumont

On All Four Networks:

The Arthur Murray Party
Down You Go
The Original Amateur Hour
Pantomime Quiz

On Three Networks

The Adventures of Ellery Queen-D,A,N&
The Andy Williams Show-A,C,N*
Animal World-N,C,A
Author Meets the Critics-N,A,D
Bachelor Father-C,N,A
Big Town-C,D,N
Blind Date (Your Big Moment)-A,N,D
Break the Bank-A,N,C
Candid Camera-A,N,C
Charlie Wild, Private Detective-C,A,D
Dollar a Second--D,N,A
The Eddy Arnold Show-C,N,A*
Ethel and Albert-N,C,A
Father Knows Best-C,N,A
Ford Theater-C,N,A
The Goldbergs-C,N,D
Life Begins at Eighty-N,A,D
Man Against Crime-C,D,N
Mary Kay and Johnny-D,N,C
Masquerade Party-N,C,A
The Price Is Right-N,A,C*
The Sammy Kaye Show (So You Want to Lead a Band, Music from Manhattan)-N,C,A
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (The Smothers Brothers Summer Show, The Smothers Brothers Show)*
The Steve Allen Show-C,N&,A
The Ted Steele Show--N,D,C
Tom Corbett:Space Cadet-C,A,N
Twenty Questions-N,A,D
Walt Disney-A,N,C
The Wendy Barrie Show (Inside Photoplay, Photoplay Time, Through Wendy's Window)-D,A,N

On Two Networks

Actor's Studio (The Play's The Thing)-A,C
Adventure Theater-N,C&
The Alan Dale Show-D,C
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)-C,N
The Amazing Dunninger (The Dunninger Show)-A,N
Armstrong Circle Theater-N,C
Bank on the Stars-C,N
The Battle of the Ages-D,C
The Bigelow Show-N,C
Bigelow Theater-C,D
The Bionic Woman-A,N
The Black Saddle-N,A
The Bob Cummings Show-N,C
Bosom Buddies-A,N2
Cavalcade of America (DuPont Cavalcade Theater, DuPont Theater)-N,A
Celebrity Time (Goodrich celebrity Time)-C,A
Chance of a Lifetime-A,D
The Charlie Farrell Show- C,N2
Circus Boy-N,A
Claudia, the Story of a Marriage-N,C
The Clock-N,A
The Continental-C,A
The Court of Last Resort-N,A2
Dan August-A,C2
The Danny Thomas Show (Make Rom for Daddy)-A,C
Davis Rules-A,C
The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor (Robert Taylor's Detectives)-A,N
Diff'rent Strokes-N,A
Doorway to Danger-N,A
The Dotty Mack Show (Girl Alone)-D,A
Drew Pearson (A,D)
The Earl Wrightson Show (Earl Wrightson at Home, The At Home Show, The Masland at Home Party)-A,C
The Eddie Capra Mysteries-N,C2
Eddie Condon's Floor show-N,C
Ensign O'Toole-N,A2

The Ernie Kovacs Show-C,N*
The Family Holvak-N,C
Famous Fights-D,A*
The Father Dowling Mysteries-N,A
The Faye Emerson Show (Fifteen with Faye)--C,N
Fireside Theater-N,A2
The Gale Storm show-C,A
The George Gobel Show-N,C
Get Smart-N,C
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir-N,A

The Herb Shriner Show-C,A*
Hey Jeannie-C,A2
The Hogan Family-N,C
Hollywood Opening Night-C,N
The Hunter-C,N*
It Pays to Be Ignorant-C,N*
The Jack Benny Show-C,N*
The Jimmy Dean Show-C,A&
The Jimmy Durante Show-N,C2
The Joey Bishop Show-N,C
The John Davidson Show-A,N&
The Johnny Cash show-A,C&
Johnny Staccato-N,A2
The Johns Hopkins Science Review-C,D
The Joseph Cotten Show (On Trial)-N,C2
Juvenile Jury-N,C
Keep Talking-C,A
Kraft Television Theatre-N,A
Kukla, Fran & Ollie-N,A*
Law of the Plainsman-N,A
Leave It to Beaver-C,A
Leave It to the Girls-N,A*
Let's Make a Deal--N,A
The Liberace Show-N,C&
Life Is Worth Living-D,A
Live Like a Millionaire-C,A
Lux Video Theatre (Lux Playhouse)--C,N
Madison Square Garden Highlights--A,D
Mark Saber-A,N (recast-think Doctor Who)
Meet McGraw-N,A2
Meet Your Congress-N,D*
Midweestern Hayride-N,A
The Milton Berle Show-N,A&
Mission: Impossible-C,A&
Mr. & Mrs. North-C,N
The Morey Amsterdam Show--C,D
My Friend Flicka--C,N2
My Little Margie-C,N
My Three Sons-A,C
My World and Welcome to It-N,C2
Name That Tune-N,C
Navy Log--C,A
On the Line with Considine-N,A
On Your Way-D,A
The Perry Como Show (The Chesterfield Supper Club)-N,C
Peter Gunn-N,A
Pick the Winner-C,D (simultaneous)
Place the Face-N,C
Police Squad--A,C2
Police Story-N,A*
Press Conference (Martha Rountree's Press Conference)-N,A
The Pride of the Family-A,C2
Private Secretary--C,N2

Quiz Kids-N,C
The Real McCoys--A,C
The Rebel-A,N2
Red Barber's Corner (Red Barber's Clubhouse, The Peak of the Sports News)-C,N
The Red Buttons Show-C,N
The Red Skelton Show-N,C
Revlon Mirror Theatre-N,C
Richard Diamond, Private Detective-C,N
Say It with Acting-N,A
Screen director's Playhouse-N,A
Shirley Temple's Storybook-A,N
Somerset Maugham TV Theatre (Teller of Tales)-C,N
The Spike Jones Show-N,C*
Steve Canyon--N,A2
The Stork Club-C,A
Stud's Place--N,A
Telephone Time-C.A
Tex and Jinx-N.C
They Stand Accused-C,D
This Is Show Business-C,N*
This Is The Life-D,A
The Tony Randall Show-C,A
Treasure Hunt-A,N
Treasury Men in Action-A,N
Truth or Consequences-C,N*
21 Beacon Street-N,A2
Two for the Money-N,C
The U.S. Steel Hour-A,C
The Vaughn Monroe Show-C,N*
Versitile Varieties-N,A
The Voice of Firestone-N,A
Wagon Train-N,A
We, the People-C,N
The Web-C,N*
The West Point Story-C,A
What's It Worth (Trash or Treasure, Treasure Hunt)-C,D*
What's Your Bid-A,D
Who Said That?-N,A
Wonder Woman-A,C
You Asked for It-D,A
Your Hit Parade-N,C
Your Play Time-C,N2
Youth on the March-A,D

The items in red I would suggest don't belong on the list at all, either because the second network merely ran reruns of the first network programs (or, for anthologies, even reruns of other shows) - those shows are designated with a 2, OR the show is essentially a different show with the same name (two different attempts to create a series out of the comic strip Blondie, e.g.). The & sign suggests a totally different show. However, the shows with a * are shows with gaps of 18 months or more which I've determined are essentially the same show.

I realize that lots of these programs were on the early part of television - Dumont ceased to exist after the mid-1950s - but there are some network switches I remember very well for some reason, and I have italicized them above. And I should have remember Bionic Woman and, forgive me, GP, Wonder Woman.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday Meme 7/24

Q: Why does one do a meme THIS Monday?
A: Because tomorrow's post took so long to do.

A Tosy meme.

1.Have you ever been searched by the cops?

Yes, in May 1972.

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?

Generally not.

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?

Pre-Lydia, i don't remember.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?

Depends on who, I reckon.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?


6. Do you consider yourself creative?

Didn't use to. Now, maybe, I think I might be.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?

Don't know. I followed this case about as little as one could and still live in the United States.

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?

To do what?

9. Do you stay friends with your exes?

Many of them, yes. I think I invited at least four to my wedding with Carol, and at least two came. But my most recent ex, I have no contact with, even though she lives 30 minutes away

10. Do you know how to play poker?


11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?

Yes, cramming for a calculus final exam my freshman year of college, which I passed; I was going to fail the course if I failed the exam. I looked at the calculus textbook a couple weeks later and understood almost nothing.

12. What's your favorite commercial?

Ever? I don't know. Probablty a Rice Krispies commercial where Snap, Crackle and Pop sing all the words to the song, and on the fourth verse all sing together.

13. What are you allergic to?

Penicillin, naprocyn, probably some grasses that give me hay fever.

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?

No. But the last time I drove in the middle of the night, I didn't have a license. (The satatue of limitations HAS passed on this.)

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?


16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?

Let's go, Mets!

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?

Yes. I'm really bad at it. In fact, the only reason I went last time I did was to woo Carol. (And it worked.)

18. How often do you remember your dreams?

When I sleep well, almost never. When I sleep poorly, almost always.

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?

Don't remember, but it's not a totally unheard of thing for me to do.

20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatles?


I saw here standing there, penny lane, strawberry foields forever, got to get you into my life, tomorrow never knows were the first ones off the top. I can give you about 155 more.

21. What's the one thing on your mind now?

Paying my oral surgeon's bill.

22. Do you know who Ghetto-ass Barbie is?

Thankfully, no.

23. Do you always wear your seat belt?

Yes. I HAVE been in cars when it was broken (usually in the back seat, ansd some years ago) - HATED that.

24. What cell service do you use?

None currently. Had Verizon Wireless, which cost WAY too much for the infrequent number of times we used it.

25. Do you like Sushi?

Not a lot. I'll eat it. My wife LOVES it.

26. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?

Yes, and I'm glad I had a seat belt on. My friend Lynn was driving in New Paltz on Route 32, heading south, and I'm in the passenger seat, when this car, which had been waiting for several seconds, sudddenly makes a left turn right into us. Lynn had a neck brace for six weeks. I was OK.

27. What do you wear to bed?

Depends on the weather. Usually T-shirt and pajama bottoms.

28. Been caught stealing?

Yes, candy or gum from a grocery store when I was about 6. My mother found it at home, and I had to bring it back and apologize. How mortifying.

29. What shoe size do you have?


30. Do you truly hate anyone?

Don't think so, but let me think on that.

31. Classic Rock or Rap?

Given my lack of understanding of quite a bit of rap, though I loved the really early stuff, I guess classic rock, though certain songs can become so overplayed as to really irritate me.

32. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?

Hmmm. I think this is a question more suited to Tom the Dog.

33. Favorite Song?

Oh, I can't have A favorite song. It's so dependent on mood, what I've listened to recently. It'll change every time. This moment: As by Stevie Wonder, especially the "preach" part.

34. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?

Yes, but not at the Y.

35. What food do you find disgusting?

Canned beets.

36. Do you sing in the shower?

Yes, but not at the Y.

37. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours?"

Yeah, I was comparing scars with someone.

38. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?

Probably, but no more so than I would to their faces.

39. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?

Yes, or didn't know at all.

40. Have you ever been punched in the face?

Yes. In 6th grade by 8th grade bully.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

You Are a Winner

All I really need to do to work this blog is steal stuff from Tom the Dog, Tosy, Gordon, and especially birthday boy Lefty.

The latter asked last week the favorite thing his readers have won. In the day, I was very good at winning things from the radio stations I listened to, because I had very good dialing fingers, an advantage lost when the redial button was invented. WENE in Endicott, near Binghamton, was my first station of choice, when I was in high school.
It was followed by WNPC, the New Paltz College station. From them, one of the first things I won this album by this singer I'd vaguely heard of named David Bowie, an album called "Hunky Dory", with a bunch of weird songs which I liked for the most part. My roommate Ron, however, did not, except for this one song called Changes.

In my early Albany days, I listened to, and got stuff from WQBK-FM, Q-104.

But my favorite win was from a station I actually seldom listened to. In the summer of 1977, I was living in NYC, specifically Jamaica, Queens, with my sister Leslie and her then-husband Eric. One day, they had the radio on, and one had to be the ninth caller "with the phrase that pays, '99X is my radio station' " AND be able to identify the last song played. Well, I was the ninth caller, I said the phrase that paid, and I knew that "She's Gone" by Hall and Oates was the last song played. I won twice my age, which meant $48, real money for an underemployed telephone solicitor (TV Guide, Encyclopedia Britannica). I had to spend SOME of it though, and that turned to be the ONLY time I've ever seen the New York Mets play in person. Don't remember the game or even the score, but I remember the joy being there with my sister. I also have an unusual affection for the song "She's Gone".
Then there's Eddie, the Renaissance Geek, who asks if a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Answer: Yes, both. But if the Supreme Court says itÂ’s a vegetable...
Oh, I added two blogs to the roll, both guys from upstate New York with long hair, as it turns out. One, Byzantium Shores, I've been reading for quite a while, and just forgot to add. The other, Hydrogen Jukebox, is one I've waiting for him to post a second item within the same month. (And you may recognize the person in his very first post.)
The Post Office has new superhero stamps. One guy I read, Gay Prof, will want two of the twenty stamps on the sheet. Belated happy birthday, GP.
And lest I forget, happy birthday, sister Leslie!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

QUESTION: Time Is on MY Side

My friend Sarah noted in a response to a recent post how she spends the 168 hours of her week. I find the idea difficult, because it's so varied. If I go away it's one thing, if Carol and I have a date, it's another. That said, I'm taking the bait and trying to note an "average" week.

46 - Sleep, maybe 6.5 hours in bed, sleeping, or attempting to do so

38 - Work, including some time at home getting rid of junk e-mails I get at work

16 - Specific Lydia time. This involves getting her up, fed, clothes changed in the morning, and stories, diaper changes in the evening, often also including going around the block with her. On the weekends, it's a bit more concentrated, with Carol going grocery shopping, and me playing with or reading to Lydia.

14 - Eating. About half of this, at lunch, usually also means reading the paper or a magazine. Much of the rest of the time involves Lydia at dinner and especially breakfast.

12- Watching TV. Right now, this includes the nightly news, JEOPARDY!, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC This Week and The Closer, almost always on tape, because Carol & I decided that Lydia REALLY doesn't need to see the news right now. Also, catching the weather, the first five minutes of the Today show to see if the world's imploded, catching the weather. When watching taped programming, I generally have a newspaper to read while the commercials flash by.

8 - Racquetball, including time getting there, and showering and dressing afterwards.

7 - Blogging. It's not like it's an hour a day, every day. Some days, it's the five minutes it takes to post. Other days, it's whatever free time I can find: the last 15 minutes of my lunch break, the 20 minutes it takes for Carol to put Lydia to bed, a half hour of insomniac musings, the hour Carol takes Lydia swimming on Saturday morning. And the blogging also includes my time reading others, which could be 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there.

5 - House stuff: putting dishes in the dishwasher, washing the pots and pans, picking up Lydia's toys, putting away my CDs.

4- Church, including choir and committees

3- Phone, mostly family. I spend a lot of time at work on the phone, so I tend to avoid it when I can.

2- Reading the paper while listening to music.

13 -All that miscellaneous stuff: getting to and from work, errands, weekend showers (weekday showers counted under racquetball), occasional movies, taking out the garbage, musing on life

What's your week look like?
This post, like all of my (nearly-)weekly questions was inspired by one Chris "Lefty" Brown, who turned 35 yesterday. He is one of my musical gurus, and apparently, I'm one of his.
Oh, Lefty, I've been having technical difficulties actually burning the Summer Mixed CD exchange your wife set up; I'm going to someone's house today, and hope to send out on Monday. I wanted to direct people to your contest, but I couldn't get the specific link to work, unless I put "ketchup" in the SEARCH mode, in which case I found this; what are you gonna do with ketchup packets, anyway? And here is your birthday present: NEVER again will I EVER mention that apparel incident again. Promise.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Making a Good Reference Book Worse

So I'm looking at Tom the Dog's post about the Top Ten sitcoms, which maybe I'll do myself around Emmy time, when I noticed a little mistake Tom made about Taxi being one of the few shows that has gone from one network to another. Normally, I'd just leave him a note, but his HaloScan reply thing was hanging up when I was trying to use it.

I pull out my trusty The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh. I know there's a list in the back of the book that addresses this issue. But NO LIST. Huh? I'm not crazy (really, I'm not, I swear to Rudy). I was looking at my 8th edition (c. 2003), so I pull out my 5th edition, c. 1992, and the list is THERE. So they dropped this list? How else has the back of the book changed?

Appendix 1 Prime Time Schedules - in both volumes
Appendix 2 Emmy Award Winners - ditto
Appendix 3 Top-rated shows by season - ditto
Appendix 4 Longest-running series - ditto
Appendix 5 The Top 100 series of All Time - ditto (#1 is 60 Minutes, BTW)
Appendix 6 Prime Time series reunions - ditto
But then
Appendix 7 - Series Airing in Prime Time on More Than One Network - ONLY in the 1992 version
Appendix 8 in the older book, Prime Time Spin-Offs, is Appendix 7 in the new book
Appendix 9 in the older book, Prime Time Series Based on Movies, is Appendix 8 in the new book
Appendix 10 in the older book, Prime Time Network TV Series that Also Aired on Network Radio, is Appendix 9 in the new book
Appendix 11 in the older book, Hit Theme Songs from Series, is Appendix 10 in the new book
The new book does have Network Web Addresses as its Appendix 11. But then for Appendix 12, nine pages of "The Ph.D. Trivia Quiz"

As a reference librarian, this is the kind of thing that makes me frustrated. I'm forced to hold on to the old reference source (or at least to Xerox those pages) because the new edition of a reference source inexplicably drops a perfectly good, even unique, reference point in favor of piffle, in this case, a trivia quiz. This has happened in our business library as well. It's maddening (no, wait, I said I WASN'T crazy...)

Dear Messrs. Brooks and Marsh:

Please bring back "Series Airing in Prime Time on More Than One Network" in your Complete Directory for your next edition. It is a list not easily found. If you need more space, feel free to drop the trivia contest. Quizzes are not why people buy your book. They buy it as a reference source.

I'm guessing that perhaps you dropped the chart because you didn't know how to handle the so-called "netlets", WB and UPN, or even FOX, because they don't broadcast the three hours of prime-time programming that is associated with a "network". Of course, the early years reflected in your book, the schedules were pretty sparse, too. Perhaps, your calculations this will be easier, now that the CW has replaced the netlets. I would ask you to include the CW (and its antecedents) as well as FOX.

Thank you.

Roger Green
Reference Librarian and Fan of Television History

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wisdom Lost

When I was 18 or 19, I had my two lower wisdom teeth removed, by my dentist.

Four and a half years ago, I went to an oral surgeon to remove one of my upper wisdom teeth (#16), because my dentist doesn't do such tricky extractions. I was told that if it were just the tooth, it would cost X, but if it involved patching up the sinus area, it would cost about 4X. (The day of the extraction, wee were almost killed sliding into a snowbank.) It turned out that it cost X.

Last week, I went to the same oral surgeon to look at the remaining wisdom tooth (#1), with the same caveat about the sinus ($100 vs. $735, after insurance.) Yesterday was the extraction.

Meanwhile, you can look at my messy desk. (I'm wearing dark glasses because I had misplaced my regular pair, not because I was trying to look "cool", as the photographer had assumed.) But in fact, I'm taking the day off from work, I'm not feeling particularly loquacious, and I'm $735 poorer.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Great Northeast Flood of 2006

My family does not get together all that often. My sister Leslie lives outside of San Diego. My sister Marcia lives in Charlotte with her daughter Alex and our mother. Leslie wanted to go to this party in Binghamton, the hometown of my mother, my sisters and me, on July 1. We had gone to this same party two or three years before, with my sister inviting my mother's first cousins from NYC, Donald and Robert, who were also born in Binghamton but left as children, to the party. The last gathering was quite successful, my mother had a great time visiting old friends, and the idea to replicate the experience appeared sound.

It wasn't a total disaster, but the Thomas Wolfe quote about returning home felt rather apt.

June 27: the Greens from Charlotte head for Binghamton. It ends up taking them three days, because of heavy rains along the way.
June 28: Leslie flies from San Diego to Albany, in part because it's cheaper than to fly into Binghamton, and in part to spend some time with her youngest niece, who she hasn't seen since before her first birthday, except in pictures.
June 29: Leslie, Carol, Lydia and I were planning to drive down to Binghamton, but hear that the main route I-88, was closed from Exit 16 (near Oneonta) to Exit 8 (around Sidney). Moreover, a culvert has washed out part of the road, killing a truck driver in EACH direction. An alternate route, taking the Thruway to Syracuse, then down I-81, is not an option because, and I can't help but to hear Arlo Guthrie's voice, "The New York State Thruway is closed, man," from just west of Schenectady (Exit 25A) to Syracuse (Exit 34). We stay put.
June 30: We drive down to Oneonta in two cars, ours and a rental. Leslie will need one in Binghamton, but I'm happy that she got one now, because sitting in the back seat with the car seat in the middle was a little tough for me. The water has receded a little in the town, which did visit Carol's parents. But we got started much later than we planned, so Carol and Lydia stay overnight, while Leslie and I continue to Binghamton., Actually, before that, we stop to get bottled water, which proves to be a really good idea. When Leslie and I hit the city limits, we saw fireworks, which we felt must have beckoned our triumphant return, but was actually a scheduled event after the Binghamton Mets game. Even in the dark, one could see how high the river had crested, and parts of the side roads we passed were still closed.
July 1: With a friend, I attend a farmer's market, Usually, the parking lot is empty for the vendors, but their were stalled out cars there where the flood waters had been only a day or two before. Carol arrives with Lydia, upset because she drove past her uncle's flooded farm, which, fortunately, does not put him in bankruptcy, as we initially feared. Inexplicably, Lydia throws up - three times; she hadn't before that, nor since. Meet at this party with my other relatives. The river is less than a block away, moving rapidly, caring various items, barrels, clothes, down the river. The house next door to the party, which is lower, was so flooded a couple days ago, that the American flag hung on the first-floor porch has a water stain. Something was picked up by the water and smashed into the side of the garage when the water receded. The party house basement is still fully flooded, and there is furniture drying all over the yard. My sister Marcia, my mother and niece drop me off (I had ridden in with Leslie, but she was going to be singing at a club.) Somehow, she didn't get the word that the side door was going to be left unlocked for her benefit and slept in her car in the driveway, much to the chagrin of our hostess.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

LINKS: July 2006

Every once in a while, I come across things that catch my fancy, and I link to them, such as:

Librarians Help People Turn Their Hobbies Into Small Businesses. I did not know librarians could be so helpful. (Said the librarian for small businesses. See, I just can't do snarky.)

Revver is a video sharing system (think YouTube) that I read about in the Wall Street Journal. Their angle: they pay you for your video.

MySpace Rules the Web. Part of Rupert Murdock's contining plan for world domination.

Is Windows 98 a Living Fossil? If you still have it, you're probably in for some rude surprises.

It's hard to get people excited about budget cuts for the Census Bureau, but if we end up doing a 2010 Census with the long form again, instead of having data every year, which the ACS would provide, don't come crying to me.

Why Are Americans So Angry? by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TEXAS)

And because it realy ticks me off, Shout the Names of the the Wrongly Executed.

Of course, I'm a linking piker compared to one Greg Burgas, who this week posted things such as these:

*A story of an anti-abortionist who thought a satirical piece in the Onion was real (picture with his initial reply not suited for two-year olds)
*An article about an 83-year old who traded drugs for sex (I actually felt sorry for the guy)
*Folks who are thrilled with world crises, because the Rapture is closer than ever (arrgh!)
But one of his links does not give any credit to sex columnist Dan Savage of Savage Love and his readers for the derivation of the noun santorum, the first hit you'll find for the word if you put in Google.

Of course, I blame Greg for not being able to sleep last night. It was 114F in Phoenix a couple days ago, and all that hot air came this way, so that it was 95F here yesterday (and well above 70F, and humid, last night.)
And because it struck me as more true than funny:

Lutheran Squirrels Story

There were four country churches in a small TEXAS town:
The Presbyterian Church , the Baptist Church, the LUTHERAN Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Each church was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the
squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In the BAPTIST CHURCH, the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery.
The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Catholic group got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creation. So, they humanely trapped the Squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town.
Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But -- the LUTHERAN CHURCH came up with the best and most effective solution:
They CONFIRMED the squirrels as members of the church.
Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

As a relatively new Presbyterian, I can vouch for that methodology is likely would happen.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday Meme 7/17

Stolen from someone.

1-What do you want people to say about you when you die?

He was a good friend.

2-How long does it take you to get ready to go out?

I'm ready now. Oh, for what?

3-If you were an animal what would you be?

A cat.

4-What's your biggest fear?

Right now, that there are certain rxtended family issues that seem unresolvable.

5-What’s your most prized possesion?

It's hard to say. Probably my signed copy of Abbey Road by all four Beatles.

6-What’s the funniest word you can think of?

Almost anything can be funny if you say it right. That said, something German such as farfenugen.

7-Do you get along with your parents? Mom, most of the time. Dad is deceased.

8-What do you look for in the opposite sex?

Intelligence, a certain curviness, eyes.

9-What was the most difficult thing you had to do?

Go to Charlotte the week my father was dying, because I knew if i went, he would die. And he did.

10-If you were given one day to live what would you do?

Kiss the Vice-President and hope for a scandal.

11-If you could relive any day of your life either for good or to change it what would it be?

It was a breakup.

12-What's the worst feeling in the world?

Emotional claustrophobia.

The best?

Being touched.

13-If you could meet anyone who ever existed who would it be?

I've answered this before, so I'll say, this time, Jackie Robinson.

14-What was the meanest thing you ever did as a little kid?

I hid from people when I was feeling melacholy, and enjoyed hearing them calling, looking for me.

15-What have you learned about love?

There's a song in the movie Moulon Rouge which captures all the love cliches. They are cliches because they are true.

16-How have you changed in the past year?

More tired, more worried about family, more happy with blogging, more unhappy about my work venue, more tired of rain.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Friends Questions

In 1973 or 1974, I saw Billy Joel in the gym at my college, SUNY New Paltz. The band got lost somewhere between Long Island and our upstate town right on the Thruway and the concert started over two hours late.

There was a conversation about just passing on the opening act and to go right to the headliner, but that didn't happen. Instead, Buzzy Linhart did his opening set. Don't remember much about it, except that, since he knew we had no idea who he was, he kept name-dropping. He knew David Crosby and Bob Dylan. He worked with John Sebastian and Jimi Hendrix. It was all so...irritating, even though it turned out to be true. He seemed most proud of the fact that he co-wrote the song "Friends" that Bette Midler recorded.

That's a story that I all but forgot until I read that story a couple weeks ago about Americans having fewer friends.

I think I'm pretty lucky that I've had some very good friends over the years: my racquetball partner Norm for maybe 20 years, my first-day-of-college friend Mark since 1971, my friend Karen from kindergarten (!), just to name three that I'm regularly in touch with.

So, my three questions, which I would appreciate a reply to:

1. How do you define "friend"? In a MySpace sort of way, or does it actually mean sharing some substantial thing? (Or am I just missing the point of MySpace?)

2. Can you be friends with people you haven't met, that is, electronically? I contend, much to my surprise, yes.

3. Does the isolation of American life - longer commutes, busyness, distance from the core family - mean that the report is right, that we do have fewer friends, or is it merely a definitional issue? Certainly, school is a great way to meet potential friends, at least in my life, but I think the number of my friends would certainly have diminished had I not been involved with church and other organizations, and (OK, I'll say it) this blog, which has been a way for me to keep in touch with people when I wouldn't have otherwise (no Christmas cards sent two years in a row).

Songs stuck in my head:
Friends-Beach Boys
Can We Still Be Friends-Todd Rundgren

Saturday, July 15, 2006

FAMILY: Happy Birthday, Carol

Since it's my wife's birthday, I figure I'd better write down all of her major flaws.


Oh, she tries to squeeze too much in to a time frame, which sometime makes us late. In fact, today, scheduled a walk, a trip to the Y for a swim class for Lydia, a Bible study...and she IS allowing me to take her to dinner.


Well, that's pretty much it.

Do you know what she wants for her birthday? For me to help her pick up things around the house, and a gift card from one of those kitchen appliance stores. Check, and check.

This summer, she's co-ordinating this ESL summer enrichment program, thus cutting into her downtime - teachers NEED their summer downtime, I gather.

Anyway, she's a good mom.

She's gotten a lot more cynical about politics (like her husband) than she used to be, which is too bad, though quite understandable. She pays more attention to the news.
I could write a lot more, but the chances she'll even see it is quite minimal.

The one thing I need to do is get a picture of her without the child. BL, I always had pictures of her solo.

Anyway, happy birthday, honey. I love you.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Linda Ronstadt and the Big 6-0

I have long thought that Linda Ronstadt never got the credit for being the eclectic that her male counterparts, such as Neil Young or David Bowie, received. Sure, she isn't primarily a songwriter, but she expresses her talents in so many varied ways.

After the Las Vegas incident of July 2004, I was peeved enough to go out to buy her 4-disc box set. Don't make me angry; I spend money.

The collection is put together in a most interesting way. The first disc and the first half of the second disc generally follows her career, with album cuts from throughout, but from then current (1998), back to the beginning, skipping over the a couple phases. (It is light on what is probably my favorite album, Hasten Down the Wind.) The rest of the second disc is comprised of songs from the three albums she did with Nelson Riddle and the two discs of Mexican songs.

The third disc is a collaborative disc where she performs with everyone from Kermit the Frog to Frank Sinatra, plus of course, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Aaron Neville. It also runs from most recent back, but doesn't include her background singing with Neil Young (Heart of Gold, et al.) or Under African Skies (Paul Simon).

Disc four is her rarities, including her contributions to Randy Newman's Faust, a contribution to Carla Bley's jazz opera Escalator Over the Hill, a collaboration with Philip Glass and much more. Again, latest to earliest.

I believe that in order for a box set to be successful, it must have both enough familiar stuff to reel you in, plus enough GOOD unfamiliar stuff to make it worthwhile. This set succeeds on both counts.

Last month, I heard her and Ann Savoy sang a couple songs on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion. One song was a Cajun tune, the other a ballad.

Then I came across the June 29 episode of Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Mahar. (The full episode also features Teri Hatcher: memoir, Burnt Toast; Annabelle Gurwitch: book and documentary, both titled Fired!; "dog whisper" Cesar Millan.) "11-time Grammy Award winner Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy harmonize beautifully on "Walk Away, Renee" and "Too Old to Die Young." Between numbers they spar with Bill on the American South and Las Vegas."

I've added their collaboration "Adieu, False Heart" to my shopping list; the album comes out on July 25.

Linda turns 60 manana. Happy birthday, Ms. Ronstadt.
At the free Turtles concert downtown last night, I watched that "I didn't know they did that!" look on many faces when they performed "She'd Rather Be with Me". But you know how a song will get stuck in your head. That happened to me with the funny lyrics of Elenore. I sang the choir and the end tag all the way home. Aloud. Repeatedly. And, of course, not the melody line, but the harmony line. "You're my pride and joy, et cetera", indeed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Date Night

Last year, for Father's Day, my wife and my daughter promised me ten dates during the summer with my wife but without our daughter, which I believe was accomplished. It included movie matinees when Lydia would be in day care anyway, and I would take the afternoon off from work. Sometimes, it was a movie or dinner at night and we would hire a babysitter.

This year, though the explicit promise wasn't made, we are attempting to have some dates again this season. So far, we've been on two.

The first was to see the movie I've been wanting to see for months, Thank You for Smoking, which I wanted to see even before Gordon recommended it a couple months ago. I found that I smiled through the first half, but actually laughed out loud a few times during the second half, but am embarrassed to admit that I missed the Pieta reference until my wife mentioned it to me afterwards. (If you saw the movie and don't know what I'm talking about), think 16th President of the US.)

The second was to go on a boat ride provided by our realtor David on the Dutch Apple Cruise, a two-hour tour on the Hudson River from Albany, past the port to the fancy houses in Glenmont to and back. We met very interesting people, such as this Brazilian couple; her name was Maine, and she has five siblings also named after U.S. states, such as Tennessee and Maryland. Really. We talked about the English language, comic books, and a variety of other topics. There was also someone who turned out to be a neighbor of ours whose mother is a member of our church. It was a great time of great adult conversation.

One couldn't help but notice, however, how high the Hudson River was getting. And it, along with other rivers in the Northeast, would only be getting higher...
"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" 40th Anniversary Essay Contest - deadline is July 21.
The World e-Book Fair, sponsored by Project Gutenberg and World eBook Library, will be offering up to 300,000 books online now until August 4, 2006. Fiction, nonfiction and reference books plus classical music scores and recordings will be available for free downloading.
Signs I blog too much:

*CBS News Sunday Morning has a piece on blogging. This is the emotional equivalent of how the death of disco was signaled when Marvel Comics came out with the Disco Dazzler (changed to Dazzler).

*I have my first blogging dream, one I can remember anyway, which goes like this:
My mother, my Grandma Williams [my mother's mother, who died in 1983], Lydia and I were in this apartment when Grandma Green [my father's mother, who died in the mid-1960s], comes to the screen door, sees me lying on the sofa, with Lydia sitting on my stomach. I'm trying to figure out whether I should blog about the fact that my mother and father have separated. [My father died in 2000, and they never separated.]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

TV REVIEW: Edge of Outside

A serendipitous occurrence: on the day that TCM first broadcast a special called "Edge of Outside" last week, our librarian intern was working on a reference question about independent film. We agreed that the definition of "independent" was fairly tenuous and fuzzy, given the fact that a number of major studios have allegedly independent branches.

The documentary came to much the same conclusion, but noted that one can have an independent voice even within the studio system. (Indeed, United Artists was but an early example of the anti-studio movement.) It was a very entertaining look at a group of directors both familiar and unknown to me. In the latter category, Sam Fuller, pictured, who like Charlie Chaplin and early Frank Capra operated as outsider. Orson Welles, who Spike Lee described as a "cautionary tale", was a director who designed movie as autobiography.

The special spends much time with John Cassavetes, who was inspired by the Italian neorealism and French "new wave" following World War II, and was the epitome of the director who, like later directors who would max out their credit cards to work, just HAD to work. Stanley Kubrick was also given considerable air time. Sam Peckinpah, who has put out a number of graphically violent films, was described as a filmmaker showing the clash between man and his environment.

One of the interesting comments came from John Sayles, who indicated that the limitations and challenges of independent film are also liberating. One is "forced to create an artistic solution" without the big budget.

You may quibble with the definition of "independent film" or complain that a given director or another was given short shrift. Woody Allen has final say in everything from casting to the final cut, and that's about all we hear about him, for instance.

But I liked it, and if you like film, I think you'll enjoy it too.

Every Wednesday night this month, TCM is showing "filmmakers who have worked on the edges of Hollywood". The "Edge of Outside" special will be rebroadcast on Wednesday, July 19 at 11 p.m. The final evening of the series, July 26, features Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, Robert Altman's Nashville, and Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull.

Not so incidentally, the library reference request I mentioned was for a particular document that discussed the market share of independent film within the broader market, something we did not have access to. However, our intrepid intern found the Focus 2006: World Film Market Trends document from the European Audiovisual Observatory, which contains some comparison of independent and major studio films (p. 36 of that report) as well as a breakdown of North American market shares by distributor (p. 38). He also cited American Film Market (IFTA trade association conference); the National Alliance of Media Art and Culture, "Future of Independent Media"; Nielsen Media - write "movies" in the search field; and The MPAA Research Statistics - register to use, but it's free, and it discusses other forms of popular entertainment as well as movies.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Alphabetically, It's All About Me

Another weekend out of town, this time at the Olin Family reunion, which I described last year. Been so busy with family stuff that I totally forgot the 65th birthday of one Ringo Starr back on 7/7 until I read it in Johnny B's column a couple days ago.

We've also been dealing in our household with ants, not to be confused with aunts, which we've also had, but that be another discussion. We were told that if one puts skins of cucumber near the entryway (in our case, the wall next to the back door), the ants will die. Don't know how this works, but it does.

Oh, anybody want to tell me (because someone asked me, and I haven't had a Comic Book Price Guide in years): what is the value of a Fawcett Publication, Jackie Robinson, No. 5 comic, which somebody found while cleaning out her parent's attic? Yeah, I know about condition and all that.

Meanwhile, I was having this small debate with a friend about the term meme. On this site FULL of memes called I Am, I get this definition:
meme n (mëm): A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. From the Greek mimëma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate.
"A dispensary of... topics for bloggers." --The New York Times

But this one I actually got from here:

Act your age? I think having a two year old at 53 probably makes one younger and older, pretty much simultaneously. Before that, probably younger.
Born on what day of the week? Saturday, I believe, at 3:15 p.m., EST.
Chore you hate? Cleaning the toilet. I actually did it for a living for six months, among other tasks.
Dad's name? Leslie Harold Green. One of my sisters is Leslie Ellen Green. It caused some confusion.
Essential makeup item? Sunblock.
Favorite actor? Denzel Washington, Albert Brooks, Robert Redford, Nicholson when he isn't phoning it in, Bill Murray, John Malkovich, Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L. Jackson, Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman. Just one? Robert Duvall.
Gold or silver? Gold, I suppose.
Hometown? Flood-weary Binghamton, NY, where I've been in successive weekends.
Instruments you play? Kazoo, comb.
Job title? Information Specialist. I'm special.
Kids? One daughter, age 2 years, 3 months and a couple weeks. I keep forgetting to mention her on these pages. Maybe someday, I will post her picture.
Living arrangements? Old 2.5 bedroom house in the heart of the city.
Mom's name? Gertrude Elizabeth Williams, named after her mother. She hates Gertrude, goes by Trudy.
Need? The memer who wrote this said: "Intellectual stimulation. Without it, I'm dead." Probably true for me as well.
Overnight hospital stays? Uncontrollable nosebleed when I was five and a half, car accident when I was 19.
Phobias? There is this Civil War gum card set (rather like baseball cards) that depicted one soldier impaling another with a bayonet. The pained look on the dying soldier's face has always stayed with me. So people playing with knives, swords.
Quote you like? Too many. Here's just one: "Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple." - Charles Mingus
Religious affiliation? Christian. Currently a Presbyterian, though I was a Methodist for far longer.
Siblings? 2 sisters, Leslie from San Diego and Marcia from Charlotte, both of whom I've seen in the past couple weeks.
Time you wake up? Way too early. The alarm goes off at 5:30; I'm usually awake before that.
Unique talent? The ability to make a kazoo/comb sound WITHOUT a kazoo or comb.
Worst habit? Leaving dishes in the living room.
X-rays you've had? Left knee, 1994. Teeth, of course.
Yummy food you make? I have made spinach lasagna, but not recently. I used to make deviled eggs for every pot luck occasion, but I've stopped.
Zodiac Sign? Pisces; nothing fishy about THAT.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Truck, tree and me

A couple weeks ago, when I was home with Lydia, I was walking her home from the grocery store. Someone on the corner asked when the next #30 bus was - it turned out that it would be a while.

There was a garbage truck right in front of my house, picking up my trash (thank you, city Department of General Services). Heading in the opposite way was a tractor trailer from Eckerd's Drug Store. The courteous truck driver moves somewhat to his right to give the garbage truck (and himself) more room. And the cliche proved to be correct - his good deed did not go unpunished.

A low-hanging branch gets caught, actually wedged, between the cab and the trailer, and the strength of the truck actually dislodges the tree from its roots! The moving tree pulled out the cable TV line from the nearby house.

So when I get home - I was only a block away when this occurred - there's a garbage truck stopped in one direction and the drug store truck stuck in the other, right in front of my house. The garbage truck guy calls DGS and they show up with about 12 guys, assessing the situation. They bring chainsaws, a couple wood chippers and other paraphenalia.

The truck driver had a camera, for which he wanted to take pictures to show to the powers that be at Eckerd's but it wasn't working, so I, accompanied by my photo assistant Lydia, took pictures, which I subsequently mailed to the company.

Eventually, the police arrive, take the truck driver's statement. What they WEREN'T doing, though, was noting that traffic coming down my street heading north couldn't get through even to the side street, mostly because a CDTA bus was stopped. The bus wasn't allowed to back up and couldn't make a right turn because one of the wood chippers was in the way. So, I took Lydia ad directed traffic, which is to say, I got a bunch of people to turn around and go back the other way, lest they be parked there for what would have been up to 40 minutes.

Finally, some CDTA supervisor arrives on the scene, gets the DGS to move the chipper, and allow for traffic, including the stopped bus, to turn off the street.

All that's left. Posted by Picasa
Carol and I had complained that those branches were too low. Guess we were right.
Oh, and Eckerd sent me a $40 Eckerd card to pay for my expenses, which seemed fair.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Living in the Past 3 Questions

My high school reunion is coming up. The last one I went to was 25 years ago, and I didn't enjoy it much, though the afterparty was great. But this one I'm looking forward to, in large part because my oldest friends from kindergarten, Karen, Carol (not my wife Carol), and Bill will be there. Haven't seen Carol since 2000, and had been largely out of touch until I got an e-mail from her out of the blue a couple weeks ago, with her apologizing for being a poor correspondent. Wife Carol is going to the first night informal mixer, but not to the next night's festivities.

I went to the high school reunion of Carol (my wife) a few years back, and it was, as I described to my friend Karen recently, lethally boring.


1) Do you go to high school or college reunions? Why or why not?

2) Do you bring your spouse/significant other (SO) to these events? If so, are you a sadist?

3) Do you go to your spouse's or SO's reunions? If so, are you a masochist? How did you cope?

Your replies are most welcome.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Super Post

Well, not really. I have this pile of things I'd like to write about - family and floods and other things. But time has been limited lately; I've been away. Maybe next week.

Meanwhile, a buddy of mine was a plaintiff in the NYS gay marriage ruling, which appears here in a 70-page PDF. On to the legislature, where it looks promising in the Assembly, I think, but unlikely in the Senate.
JEOPARDY! a few weeks ago, a category called Superhero Before and After. If you're not familiar with Before and After from JEOPARDY! or Wheel of Fortune, the clue links two answers with a common word, such as:

Kimberley Locke hit song, as done by Diana Prince.

What is 8th World Wonder Woman?

I've hidden the answers, but if you block over the space, the replies will become evident.

1970's body-building documentary and Avengers member whose secret identity is Tony Stark.

Who is Pumping Iron Man?

1991 Madonna pic highlighting her "Blond Ambition" tour in which she fights crime as a blind Marvel acrobat.

What is Truth or Daredevil?

Whitman "Leaves of Grass" poetic entry that with patriotic shield in hand battles the Red Skull.

What is Oh Captain, My Captain America?

Flubberful Fred MacMurray film that leads the X-Men, albeit from his wheelchair.

Who is the Absent-Minded Professor X? (I assume Xavier, or Charles Xavier would have been acceptable for X.)

Judas' named biblical betrayal price was hanging ten and being confined to earth by Galactus, the planet eater.

What was 30 pieces of Silver Surfer?

No one got the last two replies.
How Kryptonite Works
I wasn't planning on commenting on the passing of comedian Jan Murray, but I'm now forced to.
It started with me walking into the office of one of my colleagues at work yesterday. He wasn't there, but his computer had a screensaver picture of Jan Murray! Apparently, it has to do with a conversation he had with another office mate about some dialogue on the TV show Taxi between Louie DePalma (Danny DeVito) and Alex Rieger (Judd Hirsch), something about wearing a coat. The punchline is Louie saying, "Rieger, you're a regular Jan Murray!" After which, the second office mate somehow posted Murray's picture on our bud's computer.
I found this so peculiar that I told a couple other co-workers about it. They had no idea who Jan Murray was. He was this funny, nice-seeming guy who always seemed to be on TV when I was growing up, that's who he was.
Brandon Routh Talks About Superman returns.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Three Score of W

A certain Commander-in-Chief turns the big 6-0 today. And I'm trying to find a way to say something non-inflammatory. The problem is that I'm increasingly convinced that in a country as polarized as ours, it's hard to say anything anymore that won't tick off someone. And according to last week's 20/20 on ABC News, this President's merely the latest proponent of divisive politics over the last quarter century or so.

Here's something I've given up: references to his "alleged" Presidency. Do I think crooked things happened in Florida in 2000? Most assuredly. How about in Ohio in 2004? Probably. (And I'm surprised it suddenly became an issue in 2006, given the information available much earlier. But history won't remember President Sam Tilden from 1876, even though he got ripped as badly by the Hayes supporters as Al Gore was six years ago.

Here's the thing, though: aside from his policies, most of which I disagree vigorously, I have a hard time with the speech patterns (and the SMIRK!) of the current American President. This linguistic style is such a distraction that I can barely stand watching and listening to him talk. I avoided the State of the Union and the Inaugural Address in 2005, the first time I had deliberately done so since I started watching these things more than 30 years ago. I never had the same reaction to Presidents Nixon or Reagan, even though they both promulgated policies that I abhorred.

Indeed, I had (minor) hopes for the Prez, figuring that he couldn't be THAT bad. I knew a lot about his (draft-)dodgy past, and the finagling involved with buying the Texas Rangers with pretend money but getting real bucks in return. Still, I'm a Christian, so I believe in the possibility of change.

In fact, at the point of his first crisis, I totally forgot that he WAS the President. REALLY. There was an issue involving a Chinese aircraft, and I thought, "I wonder what Clinton is going to do about THAT?" Forget the fact that I actually saw W.'s inauguration. Then I said, "Wait. Clinton's not President. Who's President?" The drama of the Florida recount and the Supreme Court ruling about the same, and I actually couldn't remember who was in charge. Something about it made it so unreal that I never internalized his ascendancy into the Presidency.

His next significant act was to limit federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in August 2001. He's spending his political capital on that? It was a bit confusing, as it seemed to come out of nowhere.

Of course, 9/11 came. I was not one of those who complained that he was moving around a lot on that day, rather than rushing directly back to Washington. He had that one moment of "looking Presidential" in NYC, then we waged war in Afghanistan. His response to try to capture Bin Laden seemed obvious, although his rhetoric sounded like the schoolyard. Yet what really surprised me was how quickly he abandoned focusing on the killer of 3000 in favor of..Iraq?

Then the Patriot Act, which MUST have been sitting in someone's drawer, given the speed in which it was passed. The litany of erosions of freedom subsequent to that will be noted by others, I'm sure.

Nevertheless, as 43 turns 60 today, I wish him wisdom and courage to lead the country over the next 2.5 years with the compassion he promised us at the outset of his administration, but has largely failed to deliver.