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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallows Eve 2006

Lydia's daycare is celebrating its "Fall Festival" today, no doubt in response to those who fear the infliction of religion; the Winter Festival's in a couple months. History, origins, costume ideas and links, news, Christian perspective on Halloween "in response to email castigating for glorifying evil :-)", and jokes such as:
Q. Why do demons and ghouls hang out together?
A. Because demons are a ghoul's best friend!

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. - Carol Bishop Hipps (Stolen from a friend)

There must be 30 Ways To Eat a Pumpkin. Ah, a new Paul Simon song, no doubt. And speaking of which - Paul's 65th birthday this month went unmentioned on this page.

So did Sting's 55th birthday. Here's a fun story about the FIRST time Sting met Edin Karamazov, the lute player from Sarajevo, 12 years ago at a circus. You fans of Studio 60 may recognize Karamazov from the episode featuring Sting (and Lauren Graham).

Facts for Halloween from the Census BOO-reau.


Picture above from NASA.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Enthroned In The Hearts Of Kings-Mixed CD

Here's the thing about the disc I described yesterday. While I liked the songs, I didn't like the flow terribly much. So I decided to scrap it and start over. But I needed a first song, and a feel. The feel became a bit of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

QUALITY OF MERCY-Michelle Shocked. This is a song from the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. It's the title song, as it were, for in the Billy Shakes play Merchant of Venice, Portia has an impressive speech, from which I took the title of this disc.
Johnny Cash connection: He also has a song on the soundtrack, In Your Mind.
WHO KILLED DAVEY MOORE? - Pete Seeger. From that 1963 live album I bought recently.
Bob Dylan connection: written by Bob.
DON'T TAKE YOUR GUNS TO TOWN- Charlie Robison. Love the feel.
Johnny Cash connection: from a JRC tribute album.
I HUNG MY HEAD - Sting. Great song.
Johnny Cash connection: covered by Johnny, and arguably done better.
FOLSOM PRISON BLUES-Keb' Mo'. He changes a vital lyric! Still, I love the performance.
Johnny Cash connection: from a JRC tribute album.
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE-Beatles. "Rather see you dead, little girl." Without looking it up, I seem to recall, John pretty much disavowing this song.
Bob Dylan connection: likely written after the Beatles and Dylan smoked dope together.
PRETTY POLLY - Judy Collins. Starts off softly, but packs a punch, featuring guitar by Steve Stills. Murder ballad. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", indeed.
Bob Dylan connection: on the album Who Knows Where The Time Goes, which featurers this cut, Judy also sings Dylan's Poor Immigrant.
DELIA'S GONE -Johnny Cash. From his first American Recordings album.
Johnny Cash connection: The very first song on that disc.
GOODBYE EARL - Dixie Chicks. Controversial because the protagonist gets away with murder. With a video that's been heavily parodied.
Johnny Cash connection: their most recent album was produced by Rick Rubin, who produced Johnny's American Recordings in the 1990s and beyond.
WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT - Nirvana - I knew this as a Leadbelly song.
Bob Dylan connection: performed by Bob in 1961 and in 1990.
'TIL I DIE- Beach Boys. Someone once suggested that I ask my church choir to sing this. It's too nihilist, and, as I suspected, about suicide. But it IS beautiful.
Bob Dylan connection: The Beach Boys and Dylan performed at the same festival in 2003. Both have a Top 5 album on the Rolling Stone: The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
SUICIDE ALLEY -Shawn Colvin. One DOES want a response to suicide, and this is it.
Bob Dylan connection: For Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Rosanne Cash and Shawn Colvin sang You Ain't Goin' Nowhere.
DEATH IS NOT THE END- Nick Cave. Last song on the sometimes brutal "Murder Ballads" album.
Bob Dylan connection: written by Bob.

I think this album has a better flow to it, with men killing men, then men killing women, women killing men, and people threatening to kill themselves.

The problem I had was copying it, for I couldn't get it not to do strange things during the playback at a certain point. Finally, I isolated the problem: the Nirvana track was somehow defective, although not audibly so, so the five-minute track kept going and going and going, messing up everything past it. I ended up buying the cut on iTunes (buying a song I already own, ironically, which SHOULD make up for something), and it seemed to work OK.

Please let me know if you'd like a copy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

John, Bobby, and John- Mixed CD

My CD for my Gordon mixed bag thing turned out to be a concept album, about the murders of icons of the 1960s.

I SHOT JOHN LENNON - Pretty direct tune by the Cranberries.
HERE TODAY- Macca's response to the event.
ALL THOSE YEARS AGO - And George's. I had it in my head that Ringo also had a response, but my Beatles expert wrote: "I don't think there was one. George was going to give Ringo the song that turned into All Those Years Ago (new lyrics were written for it after the tragedy), and Ringo played on George's version. Paul wrote Here Today for John, and Ringo wrote Never Without You for George on Ringo Rama."
WHEN THE BEATLES HIT AMERICA - John Wesley Harding did a bit about the Beatles' reunion of 1993.
THE LATE GREAT JOHNNY ACE - The transitional song. Ostensibly about the 1950's singer, it namechecks JFK, and talks about John Lennon, ending with some Philip Glass moodiness.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL (Full Phat Remix) - When I think about the Kennedy assassination, of course I think of this Rolling Stones song, not this version necessarily.
FAMILY SNAPSHOT - I've read that Peter Gabriel was inspired to write this song after the attempted assassination of George Wallace, but look at the lyrics.
GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT - Live Kinks, with almost cheerful reference to the JFK shooting.
CIVIL WAR - "And in my first memories, They shot Kennedy." This Guns 'N Roses fits into any civil war, including VietNam.
LEE HARVEY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE- Laura Cantrell's character says, "They said he shot the President, but I don't I don't think he did."
WHO SHOT MR. BURNS (Part 1) - The Simpsons end theme in the style of the JFK movie.
LONG TIME GONE- CPR is one of David Crosby's groups, doing a song about Robert Kennedy, originally performed by one of his other groups.
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS KNOW IS LOVE/ABRAHAM, MARTIN, AND JOHN- Read what it says in my Joel Whitburn Billboard book about this guy:
Born Thomas Clague on 8/20/29 in Binghamton, New York [my hometown!] Died of cancer on 11/22/95 (age 66). Was a DJ at KGBS in Los Angeles when he created this recording." It debuted on the charts on 7/10/71, peaking at #8, and spent nine weeks on the chart. B-side: The Victors [spoken word]. Mowest 5002.
The Blackberries (vocal accompaniment); picture sleeve issued 'compliments of KGBS radio'.

I tell all that to explain why this was the first song to be selected on the disc. When my family and I were visiting Fred Hembeck and his family this past summer, Fred and I started talking about this very song. We weren't SURE we were talking about the same song; one of us remembered the Abraham part, while the other remembered the Love part, or maybe it was the kid section.

This is one of the weirdest damn songs ever to chart. You MUST check out the lyrics here. The first section, and the last, is an announcer, I assume Clay, talking to a kid, about bigotry, etc. There's a little musical "sigh" at certain points, such as after Brinkley says, "Dallas, Texas."

My sense, and it's only that, is that Clay and his radio station, feeling awful about the death of Bobby Kennedy in their city of Los Angeles, plus the other turbulence of the time, were compelled to make a statement by taking the Dion hit of three years earlier and merged it with the tune written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, made famous by Dionne Warwick. The song, I've discovered, appears on Motown Salutes Bacharach, an import . (Mowest was a Motown subsidiary when the label moved to California.) I have it on 20 Hard-to-Find Motown Classics, Vol. 2, which itself is now hard to find.

If you would like a copy of the collection I put together, or just of this last song, please e-mail me.

Oh, and does anyone out there know if the Tom Clay who was an L.A. DJ in 1971 was also the Tom Clay who was a Detroit-area DJ in 1964 and put together this Beatles collectible?

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Before I forget yet again, Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us® on A&E
Saturday, October 28 @ 10pm/9C (TONIGHT!)
Sunday, October 29 @ 2am/1C (which is, in fact, 1 am EST, according to my DVR)
Saturday, November 04 @ 12pm/11C

Quote from Fred Hembeck: "Brief observation: I've never been much of a fan of Yoko Ono, but I can now state this unequivocally: Heather Mills McCartney--WORST BEATLES WIFE EVER!" Given that there have been eight Beatle wives, I'd put her as #8 as well.

Beatles Songs from Worst to First
If you have access to the Wall Street Journal of October 26, check out "This World Series Has Huge Following, 38 Years After Fact; '68 Tigers-Cardinals Games To Get Fantasy Replay; Denny McLain Weighs In", a front page article:

The Detroit Tigers this week made a crucial decision about the team's player lineup... The team's decision had nothing to do with the current World Series battle with the St. Louis Cardinals. Instead it harks back to the legendary 1968 World Series between the same teams. The lineup is for a reunion of sorts at a fantasy-baseball camp, where fans and former players will celebrate the 40th anniversary of that matchup. But for the event to succeed, the Tigers will have to sort out some complicated logistics, still-simmering personality clashes, and how to deal with the criminal record of its erstwhile superstar, Mr. McLain, who has served time in prison for extortion and embezzlement.

"We've decided that every living member of the '68 team should be invited," says Jerry Lewis, director of Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp. He knows that will cause a stir.

The questions this week are straight-forward enough: Who would you choose for the major baseball awards? Probably my last baseball post this year. (But as the Mets are saying, "Wait until next year!") Remember these are regular season awards, and the postseason doesn't factor in.

They've already named the 2006 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award, presented (naturally) by Viagra.

AL Most Valuable Player: If David Ortiz who led the league in homers and RBI hadn't had some medical issues, the Red Sox would have at least contended for a wild card slot; he'll get some consideration. I'm fond of the Twins' Justin Morneau, although another Twins player, Joe Mauer, led the league in hitting. A catcher, no less. And Derek Jeter? Yes, he was second in batting average, and scored a bunch of runs, and plays a decent shortstop. I'm just not convinced that his "intangibles" should put him over the top.

NL Most Valuable Player: Who lead the major league in homers and RBI, batted over .300, and has a slugging percentage over .650? Ryan Howard. Who came in second in the league and third in the majors in homers and RBI, and had even a better slugging percentage? Albert Pujols. They should, and will finish 1-2.

AL Cy Young. Easily, Johan Santana, another Twins player - this will make my father-in-law happy. He lead the majors in ERA and strikeouts - an overvalued stat, the latter is, I think- and tied for the lead in wins with Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees. No 20-game winners this season, which used to be a standard for excellence in pitching.

NL Cy Young. Six pitchers won 16 games. The one with the best ERA by far is Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a mediocre team. The only people with a better ERA both won 15 games: Roy Oswalt and Chris Carpenter of the NL-winning (BOO!) St. Louis Cardinals.

There are other awards, but I don't know enough about any of them to comment, except that the Tigers' Tom Verlander is likely to be the AL Rookie of the Year. But you can comment further with your vast knowledge.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Election of 2006

I have no expectations that things will be better from "Day One" on when Eliot Spitzer is elected governor, as his ads state. Note that I didn't say if. It's the damn polls.

Alan Hevesi had a walk in the park in his run for re-election as State Comptroller until the Driving Mrs. Hevesi scandal, which has led to Spitzer withdrawing his support. Suddenly, and I mean in the last three days, signs for Callaghan, the Republican opponent, have popped up everywhere, and Hevesi's numbers are way down.

Here's a paragraph I swiped from the October 12 Metroland about the Green Party candidate for Attorney General:
[Rachel] Treichler had petitioned weeks earlier to be included in the League of Women Voters' proposed three attorney-general debates. In a letter, she argued her qualifications: ballot access, financial compliance with New York State Board of Elections, voter interest and serious media coverage. The league, in turn, commissioned a Zogby poll in which Treichler polled 17 percent of the vote among independent voters. It was decided that she was a viable candidate.
So, if you're not a Democrat or Republican, you have to be proven debate-worthy, including showing up in the polls. It's not enough to go through the machinations of getting on the ballot; if your candidacy isn't already strong enough, you won't be invited to the debates. The story continues:
At the last minute, however, Treichler learned that she wasn't going to be included in any of the debates. [Democraticic candidate Andrew] Cuomo wasn't interested, she says, in debating a third-party candidate, and his camp put the pressure on to not include her.

It's polling that will allow me to vote for a third-party candidate against Hillary Clinton and whoever her Republican opponent is this year It was polling that allowed me to vote for Ralph Nader for President in 2000, knowing that Al Gore would still win the state In fact, I could easily vote for third-party candidates for every position; Spitzer is cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party. New York is one of those peculiar states that actually allows that sort of thing.

I certainly would not be in favor of a ban on polling, but it has WAY too much influence on voter activity, including voter apathy, when a candidate is so far behind and a citizen says, "Why bother?"
WTEN-TV clips for the races in the local Congressional District in the Albany area.
In the 21st, the Democratic incumbent is a lock for re-election.
In the 22nd, incumbent Republican Sweeney, who, BTW, was one of those folks who ran down to Florida to get Bush 43 selected President, is in a suddenly competitive race with Gillabrand, who Bill Clinton came to town to endorse this week.
In the 23rd, Republican incumbent McHugh's position on Iraq on the link above is particularly entertaining.

President Bush on Iraq: It's Never Been "Stay The Course". Goodness, why did I think otherwise?

A ten minute version of the DVD "Bought and Sold-- Electronic Voting in New York" is now posted on YouTube.
The EBay link for purchase of the full version of "Bought and Sold"

CNN: Should e-voting machines be outlawed?

FOX News (of all people) Exposes Princeton / Diebold Vote-Reversal Story

The Princeton report of computer virus susceptibility of the DieboldAccuVote machine .

RFK Jr on Hardball on November Elections

Want to Vote on Paper on November, 2006? because you don't trust the machines?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Lydster, Part 31: Useful

These are some of the 30 month retrospective pics I was going to use last month, but the Blogger was acting up.

You DO realize the real reason I write these, don't you? Because, while they are fresh in my mind NOW, they'll be a point when I'll say to the wife, "Wife, when did Lydia...?" and she won't know, either.

Lydia has become very helpful. She finds glasses, keys, shoes, TV remotes and other items. The fact that she may have misplaced some of these items is irrelevant.

She helps with the laundry. I brought a bunch of bottles to the return section of the supermarket, and without being asked, she hands me bottles to put in the machine; interestingly, she never gave me the can that was also in the bag, and which went in another machine.

She's very quick to let me know I should be brushing my teeth in the bathroom, or that certain socks just don't go with her outfit.

Apparently, day care centers all over the country teach kids how to put on their coats by lying them on the ground then flipping the coats over their heads. Or something like that. She's also figured out the left shoe on the left foot thing, which saves time in the morning.

She's very good at taking her liquid medicine all by herself, after we put it in the vial. Alas, she's not so crazy about her nose spray.

Sure she washes her hands, but she's also figured out which faucet is hot and which is cold in the bathroom, and to turn on the cold one first, lest she burn herself, at least most of the time.

Oh, there's other stuff to brag about, I'm sure, but it'll keep.

Next month, new pics for sure. (Yes, Claire, I'm still having them DEVELOPED.)

Lovin' the child.
Happy birthday, Becky, my eldest niece.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My #1 Favorite Sports Moment

It occurs to me that the Mets' Endy Chavez's catch in the NLCS this month might have made the Top 10 list had the Mets beaten the Cardinals in Game 7. Alas, they did not. Fred must be still in mourning, because he hasn't posted since then.

So, OK, my #1 favorite sports moment is probably obvious. It happened 20 years ago tomorrow. It was Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. But it wasn't just the game, it was the atmosphere.

My high school friend Cecily was having her annual Halloween party in Binghamton, so I took the bus from Albany that Saturday morning. At the party, Cecily was dressed as Gary Carter, the Mets catcher, a fairly good likeness, actually. So while we were partying, it was with one eye on the game until about the 9th inning, when we just stood and waited in vain for a Mets victory. Then the Boston Red Sox went up in the top of the 10th, but the Mets tied and then won. Except for Ralph Branca and Bobby Thompson, few opponents are so paired in the mind of the sports affectionado than Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner. Seldom have I been in a room with so much jumping up and down with excitement.

The next day, I took a bus home. It was a dark and stormy night. The bus drivers had been on strike for some months - I thought it was Greyhound, though research suggests they weren't striking at the time. In any case, they had replacement drivers. We got out of Binghamton OK, but then the driver got off on Exit 13 of I-88, rather than Exit 15, which involved tooling around Oneonta until a group of passengers, including myself, directed him to the station, and importantly, back to the highway. There was further confusion at the college at Cobleskill when the driver took us to places on campus we had never seen before.

One of the great disappointments was that I'd be missing Game 7 of the Series. But, wait - I discovered the next morning that I hadn't. The rain that pounded the area from Binghamton to Albany also caused the game in Queens to be postponed until the next day, when the Mets took the title. Game 7 was televised opposite a Monday Night Football game between Washington... and the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. NBC received a national Nielsen rating of 38.9 for Game 7 versus an 8.8 for ABC's football telecast.
Watched no football this weekend, though I'm thrilled the Giants beat the Cowboys. Still haven't watched a single out of the World Series. I'll probably catch part of Game 5 on Thursday after choir.
I'm missing the endorphin rush of playing racquetball 4 or 5 times a week. My wrist and my knee are healing VERY slowly, and it makes me cranky.
That sporting event participatory activity known as the Wave started 25 years ago this month. Maybe.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My favorite sports moments

A post nearly guaranteed to confound this fellow from across the pond.

Greg did his Top 10 Sports Moments last month. I thought to do the same. Of course, there are moments I loved at the time but have faded into memory, including many of the exciting NCAA men's basketball finals.

I was flicking through the channels last month and came onto women's volleyball. The game is to 30, win by two, and in the second game of the match Siena (a college near Albany) beat Binghamton (my hometown) 40-38. It was exciting, but the memory will fade.

The rules Greg laid out is that I have had to actually witness it, not seen it on ESPN Sportscenter later.

10. I know how Greg hates Brett Favre, but even he must admit that the game Favre played on December 22, 2003, right after his father died was magnificent.

9. Mark McGwire's 62nd home run on September 8, 1998. Yeah, the steroid controversy taints this record. But I still think that the home run race between McGwire and Sammy Sosa that season energized the fans in the way they hadn't been since the 1994 strike. In fact, this was Labor Day weekend, and I saw three Cardinals games in a row on FOX, who were looking to capture the historic moment. I loved all of it, Sosa running in from right field, McGwire's graciousness to the family of Roger Maris.

8. Magic Johnson plays center during the NBA Finals. The rookie point guard replaces an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the middle, scores 42 points, and creates a legend.

7. "Villanova beats Georgetown 66-64 to win the 1985 NCAA Basketball Championship ... on April Fools' Day." It seems like most of the finals were thrilling games during that period. I was watching the game with mixed emotions. On one hand, I liked Georgetown coach John Thompson. On the other hand, 'Nova was SUCH an underdog. This is on Greg's list (item 3), so you can read his description.

6. I was never a big Reggie Jackson fan, but I was rooting for the Yankees against the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. The Yankees had made it to the Series the year before, but were swept by the Big Red Machine. Before that, they hadn't been in the World Series since 1964 and hadn't won since 1962. When Reggie hit a homer in Game 6 on the first pitch, I nodded approvingly. When he hit a second home run, also on the first pitch, I was very happy. But when he hit a third home run, again on the first pitch, I involuntarily jumped out of my seat.

5. August 27, 1991, The U.S. Open. Like Andre Agassi this year, Jimmy Connors in 1991 was in the twilight of his career. I watched most of this match, including the very end. Described in a NY Times article entitled "TENNIS; Not Too Late for Connors" By ROBIN FINN:

"As the twilight melted into the witching hour and beyond, the crowd dwindled to 4,000 of the faithful, but those who stayed last night got to watch a resurgent legend outdistance another legend's younger brother in the first round of the United States Open. On the buggy and humid stadium court, the legend played with the persistence of a gnat, a bionic gnat. Jimmy Connors, making his case for the eternal reprise and perpetual histrionics, swatted, stung, and swore his way past a quavery Patrick McEnroe, 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, to move into the second round of his 21st Open. The marathon took 4 hours 20 minutes and marked the seventh career comeback from a two-set deficit for Connors, who erased a 0-40 deficit and ended things at 1:35 this morning with a service winner on his third match point."

4. Sarah Hughes winning Olympic gold in figure skating in 2002. Mostly, it was because I didn't think she had a chance after finishing fourth in the short program. In the stupid ordinal scoring system they had until fairly recently, if any of the top three leaders (Michelle Kwan, Irina Slutskaya, and I think Sasha Cohen) won the free skate, they would have won the medal. But Hughes skated flawlessly, Michelle Kwan (my wife's favorite skater) slipped to third, and the upset was complete.

3. The January 3, 1993 NFL playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Oilers. I must admit that I didn't see the first half; I was grocery shopping with my then-wife, who slipped on the black ice on the way home. We turned on the game in time for the second half kickoff, and almost turned off the TV when Buffalo's Frank Reich threw the interception early in the third quarter to make it 35-3, Houston. But we're talking about the only team in the NFL that actually plays in New York State, so I stuck with it and was richly rewarded with an unprecedented Bills win. Sometimes, when I'm watching a sporting event and am getting excited by the events, I stand up. I stood up a LOT in that game.

2. For a few years in the 1990s, Central Park in Schenectady, NY, was home to a recognized tennis tournament. In 1991, Michael Stich won Wimbledon singles championship. He then went to Schenectady, and won. The next year, Michael Stich returned to defend his title in Schenectady, but lost in the second round to a tournament wild card named Andrei Olhovskiy, in straight sets, no less. I was in the stands, and I was as shocked as anyone. This ranks so high because it's the only one I saw in person.

I'm saving my #1 for tomorrow.

I should also make mention of Tiger Woods winning the 2006 British Open. I wasn't even watching it, but 60 Minutes (or something) was supposed to be on, so I saw the ending. And he cried because his dad had died. For some reason, so did I.
A new study, Immigrants, Baseball and the Contributions of Foreign-Born Players to America's Pastime from The National Foundation for American Policy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Music I am listening to

Now that I've finally gotten out my larcenous CDs per Gordon's exchange - apologies to all, but it was technology plus stubbornness, described next week when I describe what I did musically - I'll note briefly that I enjoyed all the mixes I've received to one degree or another.

Gordon started with a song that, for whatever reason, didn't grab me, but much of the rest was quite enjoyable, even though he stole my Clash song. For some reason I was particulatrly fond of how
Der Komissar by After the Fire worked with Cheap Trick's Dream Police. And Slip Away was an inspired choice, which never would have occurred to me.

Curiously, I didn't much like the first cut on the contribution by Lefty either, which surprised me, because it often means that I won't like what follows, but this is not the case. Fiona Apple's Criminal was on my briefly considered list for my own mix. I loved the flow from Condi, Condi (Steve Earle) to another song about her and her ilk, Sweet Neo Con (The Rolling Stones), to a Rolling Stones cover, Street Fighting Man (Rod Stewart). The Hey Joe/Down by the River pairing was going to be on my disc; I may STILL do a requested "murder ballads" disc for someone, and they most assuredly would be included. Heroes and Villains by the Beach Boys - an inspired choice for the finale. The only other song I didn't enjoy was the RATM, which after the fifth or sixth curse in a row, I had to just hit fast forward. Oh, and Lydia described the White Stripes cut as noise; I wouldn't csll it that.

Tosy puts together a much more theatrical mix, with mostly unfamiliar (to me) pieces. I must say, the second listen was better than the first, and the third better than the second. It requires a bit of active listening. I did like The Vampires/Mack the Knife/Strange Fruit grouping, which were the only familiar tunes besides Miss Otis Regrets and the songs from West Side Story. Worth another listen.

I didn't find a list of Eddie's songs for this exchange, but I should note the Chieftains/Mick Jagger version of Long Black Veil was on my list. I do find descriptions of the previous mix or two, but I do like them all, even though they're all mostly a slice of Americana, as he's described them. BTW, Eddie, both the Del McCoury Band and Emmylou Harris played here in October. Unfortunately, I saw neither, but I've provided reviews. Ms. Harris was sold out, and we couldn't get a sitter to see your man Del.

Also got a disc from this guy, which I liked in parts - my daughter was dancing to some of it - but not yet from this guy, who's going to Egypt soon.
The World Series started on Saturday, and seriously, I forgot. The Mets are gone, and the WS has receded in my mind.
The mother of Princess, Bud, Kitten and Mr. Spock died this week.
Things more difficult to do with a strained right wrist:
-Change a bottle of water
-Use a plunger to unclog the toilet
-Lift anything much heavier than a daily newspaper
-Pour milk or juice from a container larger than a half pint
-Turn a door lock
-Turn on the stove
-Ride a bicycle

Sunday, October 22, 2006

W.W.C.T.G.Y.T.B.N.C.O.S.Y.A.O. vs. Copyright

I went to an interesting workshop on copyright last week. I was reminded that it was only a 5-4 decision that allowed one to timeshift television watching. This is a good thing, because timeshifted TV is about the only TV I watch, Game 7 of the NLCS notwithstanding.

The issue of music is more complicated, and I'm not going to get into the law, except to say that I have (probably) violated it recently, and yet I'm all right with that. Mostly.

When music CDs first came out, I had lots of LPs, in excess of 1000, so I was rather disinclined to replicate digitally what I already had in vinyl. So most of my early CD purchases were new product, with an occasional acquisition of a Greatest Hits package. Eventually, though, as I found myself not listening as much to the records, I would buy certain albums I already owned on LP as CDs: Purple Rain by Prince; Who's Next by The Who, Graceland by Paul Simon; The Beatles' oeuvre - I own the British LP box set; the Police CD box set, which covers all of their albums; early 1970s Stevie Wonder, just to name a few. Well, no more.

I am hereby declaring war on the W.W.C.T.G.Y.T.B.N.C.O.S.Y.A.O., which, as described by Mark Evanier is the World Wide Conspiracy To Get You To Buy New Copies Of Stuff You Already Own. Tom the Dog and others have also touched on this topic.

I know people go the library and burn music all of the time; I just reflect endlessly on it. Someone asked, in reference to my (near-obsessive) desire to get the new Dylan album, if I might get it at the library. Well, yeah, I could, but it would be wrong. For me.

Whereas I feel no such compunction about going to the library and buying digitized versions of music I already own. Call it rationalization if you want. I call it fighting back against the W.W.C.T.G.Y.T.B.N.C.O.S.Y.A.O.

So what did I copy this week? I didn't really look for anything specific, just flipped through the racks until I found a half dozen discs, which is the maximum.
Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen (1982). My Bruce collection was neatly divided into the mid-'80s boxed set and before, which was vinyl, and the post-boxed set, which was all CD. Then I ended up getting Born in the USA on CD, even though I had it on LP. For Christmas one year, my (now late) brother-in-law John asked me what I wanted, and I put together a list of Bruce LPs I owned that I might want on CD (plus The River, which I had, strangely, never gotten). He gave me ALL of them: Asbury Park, Born in the USA, Darkness, and The River. I had forgotten to ask for Nebraska and The Wild, the Innocent... Well, now I have all but the latter.

Breakfast in America - Supertramp (1982). Scowl if you wish, but tell me: isn't The Logical song still relevant?
Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, wed like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

Those two were morally easy, compared to the other two.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen - Joe Cocker. I found the two-disc, 35th anniversary edition of the classic 1970 album. I had forgotten the story how an exhausted Cocker wanted some rest but was contracted to do this extra tour, lest he never play in America again, how Leon Russell helped put together a bunch of musicians, and how everything was sweetness and light in the beginning between Cocker and Russell, only to sour over the time of the tour.
This special edition has songs that were not the original LP, including the singles versions. Did I pass on those songs? I did not. Not a purist, I reckon.

Aladdin Sane - David Bowie. Another double album, this one the 30th anniversary of the 1973 follow-up to Ziggy Stardust. The second disc has alternate and live versions. It would have been easy not to copy it, logistically. Alas, I succumbed to the ease of the electronic download.
Now, one of the things I STILL won't have are the extensive liner notes, some 30 pages, including a Bowie timetable for 1972 and 1973. Bowie was an early hit on the coasts, but sold only 180 tickets out of 11,000 seats in St. Louis.
I'll miss out on David's musings on many things, including Detroit, where he is quoted as saying that he can't believe there's really such a raw city. He meant this in a GOOD way. Panic in Detroit is my favorite song on the album, BTW.
There was a record company ploy to make a star out of David by having him act the part, with expensive accoutrements; Bowie was ambivalent at best about the plan, which, arguably, worked.
The writer, noting that this tour was less elaborate than the later Diamond Dogs tour, reflected that middle America found that the "lead singer [Bowie] mock-felating his lead guitarist [Mick Ronson] was a little hard to swallow."
A Lad Insane was one of the possible album titles.

Anyway, there are my blows against the empire.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

War Timetable QUESTION

I came across the TIME magazine Quotes page this week. These sets of paired quotes show that the reality in Iraq is a sometimes thing:

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006
"People are bewildered because of the weak response by the Americans. They used to patrol the city every day, but when the violence started, we didn't see any sign of them." - Unidentified Balad (Iraq) Resident, asking why American troops had not intervened when sectarian killings had begun

"The President has made it obvious, we're going to win. And that means, ultimately, providing an Iraq that is safe, secure, and an ally in the war on terror." - Tony Snow, the White House spokesman responded when asked if the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq

Monday, Oct. 16, 2006
"The fact is, America has achieved successes here by removing a dictatorship and establishing a stable, democratic system." - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader, during an interview

"It's not going to be 'stay the course.' The bottom line is, [current U.S. policy] isn't working... there's got to be another way." - Iraq Options Committee Participant, on the one thing on which the 10-member panel has reached a unanimous consensus

So my questions are:

1. What do you think will be the US position in Iraq in six months, in a year? I'm increasingly convinced that the Baker panel, whose report will come out after the elections, will have a timetable - the same term, or a euphemism meaning the same thing - that will give political cover to the Administration that it had "stayed the course" while, in fact, cutting their losses, not to be confused with "cutting and running". There will be lots of troop in the region, probably in Kuwait.

2. The Democrats need 15 seats to take the House and 6 to take the Senate. How do they do? I think the Democrats might barely take the House (16-20 seats). The Senate could go either way (5-7 seats).

3. Will there beArmageddonddon in the "Left Behind" sense? Perhaps there will be, but I think it is an abomination of Christian belief to sit around waiting for it, or worse, to root for it. "No one knows the day or time" to me means one tries to live life fully feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, et al.
Mark Evanier addresses What would Jack Kirby think of the war in Iraq. (And if you don't know who Kirby was, check this out.

Friday, October 20, 2006

No Joy in Metsville

"Mighty Carlos has struck out." With the bases loaded.

I fully expect that the headline in one of the New York City tabloids will feature my title, quite possibly not on the back page, but on the front. And it was terrible game to watch, because of the emotional roller coaster. Endy Chavez takes a 2-run homer for the Cards and turns it into a double play defensively for the Mets; then he comes up in the bottom of that inning, only to pop up. The crowd (and I ) were deflated when the Mets fell behind in the top of the 9th, but energized when Valentin and Chavez get on. A called third strike on Beltran to end the inning, the game, the season for the 'Mazins.

Don't have a strong rooting interest for the World Series now, though I suppose I'll support those upstart Tigers of Scott's; the Cards were in the Series two years ago after all, though the Redbirds were swept by the Red Sox.

This week, George Will, who I agree with a lot on baseball (and infrequently on other topics) wrote about Baseball's Real 'Golden Age', which was not in the post WWII era, when there was a Subway Series in 1949, 1951, 1952 and 1953, and almost in 1950 as well, but now, because of revenue sharing and other factors, a number of teams have a chance at the postseason. I wasn't looking for a Subway Series, which, BTW, also took place in 1921, 1922, 1923, 1936, 1937, 1941, 1947, 1955, 1956, and 2000. I recognize that it's a bore for those non-New Yorkers. I just wanted one team, the one from Queens.

This means my streak of picking one, not two, not none, but precisely one of the participants in the World Series is still intact.

Go send Fred, who coincidentally mentioned me in his column this week, your condolences.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

TV Age

My current TV is a 19" set I bought in 1987 for a couple hundred bucks. It works fine, though the guy who installed the DVR couldn't believe we had a TV SO antiquated that one still has to get up and turn the TV off and on manually, even with a remote control. I don't have a V-chip, or an SAP button to listen to sporting events in Spanish. I know that eventually I will be in the market for a new TV; the incumbent will give out, and mandatory HDTV is finally on the horizon.

So, I'm reading the November Consumer Reports Annual Electronics Issue, and it has an article about plasma and LCD TVs, the CHEAPEST of which is $1000. Sure glad they are other items on the market, because I, and moreso my wife, would choke at spending four figures on a television.

Which got me thinking about the shows I watch, and don't, again. Always at least a week behind, I'm pleased, though confused, to find that there are a number of shows that I watch (Earl, The Office, Grey's Anatomy) that are repeating the season openers next week, six or seven weeks after the original broadcast. In fact, with the Friday night repeats, I think this is the third time Grey's opener has been on.

There are a whole bunch of new shows on that seem interesting that I haven't even recorded: Friday Night Lights (on at the exact same time as both Gilmore Girls and Dancing with the Stars), Heroes (with that guy Jess from Gilmore Girls), Justice (with Victor Garber, who I've liked for years), Twenty Good Years (with Lithgow and Tambour), Smith (with Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen - ALREADY CANCELLED). Or slightly older shows: STILL have never seen Lost, Desperate Housewives, or any number of programs; I could watch a House marathon on Sunday, October 29, but probably won't.

I haven't figured out what, exactly, are my criteria for giving it a try vs. giving it a rest. It's not just critical acclaim, though that does factor in. Casts matter, writers and directors matter. I'm already leaning on dropping The Nine - one episode viewed - for the same reason I don't watch Lost; I don't have the patience for certain types of convolutedness.

I will say that my absolute favorite scene this season was on Brothers and Sisters, where Sally Field, as the recently widowed mother, throws a party for her kids and grandkids and some others, including, it turns out, her late husband's lover (Patricia Wettig). All of the kids, and the mistress, think that mom doesn't know about her; they are mistaken, as they soon find out in a riveting jaw-dropping monologue.

NLCS Game 7. Defending NL Central champs, STL vs. the best team in the league this season, NYM. I taped last night's game and watched it, mostly fast-forwarded, in about an hour and a half, which was about 50% of the game's running time, slowing down mostly for balls that were hit.

Wouldn't have made choices Mets manager Willie Randolph made. Starting picture Maine bats in the 5th, then in the 6th, he gives up a hit, then gets and out and he yanks him? Bradford gets the next batter, Rolen, to hit into a double play, so it turns out to be the right play. Later, he violates the "rule" and doesn't pitch a lefty vs. a left-handed batter, yet RHP Mota gets Duncan to hit into another double play.

A key of the game is PH Tucker stealing second on a pitchout (C Molina throw is high), and after a Reyes hit, LoDuca hits a 2-run double. Important because Mets closer Wagner gave up a 2-run double to Taguchi, to cut the lead to the final score of 4-2, Mets. if I were STL manager LaRussa, I'd play Taguchi (4 for 4 as a pitcher hitter) and sit Rolen, who can't hit and even made an error last night.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Emergence of The Theme Will Be Apparent Very Soon

I was watching JEOPARDY! last week. Here's the final, under the category famous cartoon characters:
The 1935 cartoon "I Haven't Got a Hat" was the first of many cartoons that paired him with a cat named Beans. Answer below.
The paper last Sunday had this headline Car plows through house, killing pig, which struck me as - this is terrible - funny. The subhead: "Driver charged with DWI in crash that destroyed family's home and beloved pet in Ballston Spa." It somehow reminded me of Arnold Ziffel, the pet pig of the neighbors of the Douglases on the TV show Green Acres with Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor.

Then, on Tuesday, this follow-up:
Hannahble's demise inspires wealth of giving, with the subhead: Death of pet Vietnamese potbellied pig in freak auto wreck sparks creation of fund to help other pigs"
Donations may be sent to the Hannahble Fund at Box 561, 5072 Sacandaga Road, Galway, NY 12074...
Unlike domestic pets such as dogs and cats, potbellied pigs are often hard to place, Grossmann Brown said, noting that people often get rid of their pigs because of changing circumstances -- including divorce and new landlords that won't accept such pets
"This was a very bad and scary event and I am glad to be alive. If some other pigs can live a more comfortable life or be saved from harm in Hanners' way, then I would be honored to be a part of it," Grossmann Brown said in a statement announcing the fund.
Grossmann Brown and her husband, Randy Brown, are staying in a hotel while they figure out how to recover from the accident that demolished part of their home at 48 Rowland St. at 4 a.m. Saturday morning and killed Hanners.
Grossmann Brown said, fortunately, her two dogs, cat and two parakeets were not injured when the car tore through the house.
Danielle Schrade, 21, of Ballston Spa, was charged by village police with driving while intoxicated, accused of driving her Mitsubishi Eclipse through the front porch at 52 Rowland St., then through 48 Rowland St., where Hanners was sleeping peacefully in his bed.

Do I feel like an insensitive lout. It's good to be humbled now and then.
The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce has been plugging its Pigtacular, including Hogtoberfest. Jane, who I knew from her days at the Albany Y, has been hawking these events. Oy. I'll have to razz her the next time I see her.
One Lydia's favorite book lately is If You Give a Pig a Party. She can hear it four times in a row, and it's not awful for me to re-read. My favorite page is the hide-and-seek page, where even Carol and I had difficulty finding all the animals initially, especially the dog. (The pig was wearing her party dress, so she was easy to spot.)
Lydia's also fond of Mrs. Potter's Pig (mom is neat freak, baby is so messy that mom thinks girl will actually turn into a pig, and she does, sort of), Olivia and the Missing Toy (off a Cheerios box - we're not proud), and Percival the Pig (trying to keep clean for his birthday tea). Some of her farm books also feature porcine creatures.
Answer to the JEOPARDY! question, which you may have gotten with the additional clues, but which I had no ideas in the 30 seconds allotted:
Who was Porky Pig? They were known as Porky and Beans. Ah, that mid-1930s humor. BTW, none of the contestants got it right, and in fact all picked cartoon cats (Krazy Kat, Felix the Cat, Jerry) as their responses.
The Mets lost last night, 4-2, and are down 3 games to 2. Sigh. At least I didn't see it. My bike injuries seem to have made me extremely achy and fatigued, and the grey skies that made it feel like dusk ALL DAY didn't help. I went to bed at 8 p.m. last night - highly unusual, let me tell you -and woke up at 3:45 a.m. - not so unusual.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Politics of Sex, Drugs, and El Kabong

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the nation's population will reach the historic milestone of 300 million on Oct. 17 at about 7:46 a.m. (EDT). This comes almost 39 years after the 200 million mark was reached on Nov. 20, 1967. The estimate is based on the expectation that the United States will register one birth every seven seconds and one death every 13 seconds between now and Oct. 17, while net international migration is expected to add one person every 31 seconds. The result is an increase in the total population of one person every 11 seconds.
As of this writing, 299,999,211 in the US and 6,550,942,258 in the world.
Felicity Huffman, Marg Helgenberger, Angie Harmon, Rosario Dawson, Tyne Daly, Regina King, Lauren Graham, Daphne Zuniga and Votar appear in a series of PSAs for Women's Voices. Women Vote. Many of them are talking about "their first time." And based on Helgenberger's extended video on ABC News This Week "Sex Appeal and the Women's Vote," the double entrende is intentional. "There are 20 million women who did not vote in 2004, and when they take part in the next election, they can change history." Of course, if they need to register, it's too late in New York State for the November 7 election.
To honest, I never knew the name Ed Benedict, who died late last month, but his creations as primary character designer at Hanna-Barbera, including the various characters on The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, and especially Huckleberry Hound, brought me hours of pleasure in my childhood. First time I ever heard the song "Clementine" was from Huck. When I had an uncontrollable nosebleed when I was 5 1/2 and ended up in the hospital, it was Huck, Yogi, and Quick Draw (and his alter ego, El Kabong) that got me through the fear and the boredom. El Kabong was the masked character that would smash a perfectly good guitar, long before Pete Townsend, over the heads of the bad guys. When you're 5 1/2, this is very funny.

An appreciation of Ed Benedict
Stop the Drug has "added The Speakeasy, a new blog featuring our staff of seasoned drug policy experts, the editor of our Drug War Chronicle (the worldÂ’s leading drug policy newsletter), the best comments from our 40,000 person strong network of supporters, and upcoming special guest bloggers (celebrities, well-known policy wonks, and other famous personalities)."
It's stewardship time atmyy church. One of the questions we've been asked is how many people will each of us tell about our First Presbyterian Church Albany website. I said 100. Done. AND I've added it to my weblog, along with our former intern Ben Ropp's Image Remora.
Underground Railroad History Project events:

October 21 - National Abolition Hall of Fame Inductee Commemoration and Annual Dinner - for information visit

October 29 - UGR Trolley tour - 1-3pm - led by Paul and Mary Liz Stewart of URHPCR - for tickets call 518-452-1675 or visit
Of special note: November 12 - Bossambajazz at the Van Dyck - 4-8pm - annual URHPCR fundraiser - From the first note, to the last beat, Bossambajazz promises to take you on a magical musical tour. Support URHPCR and enjoy an evening of great jazz and pleasant company at the historic Van Dyck Restaurant in Schenectady. Tickets available through or call 518-436-0562 or 518-432-4432.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Triumphant Return of the Monday Meme: Top Ten Junk Foods

Gee, I haven't been inspired to do a meme for a while but Greg did a Top Ten Favorite Junk Foods and Tosy noted his top ten candy bars. Since I never ate that many of the latter, I'll stick with the former.

10. Plain M&Ms - back in my less disciplined days, I'd eat a whole bunch in rainbow color order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown. OK, brown's not in the rainbow. Now, if I succumb to the candy, it'll be one piece. And it'll be green, of course.

9. Wheat Thins- I've started actually started looking at the packaging, deciding whether the "reduced fat" product or the "whole grain" product is better. Well, the former has fewer calories. Both are nearly as satisfying as the original, which is not always the case with these products.

8. Ritz Crackers - there was a time when I could devour a whole roll of these; a box holds three or four rolls. Usually consumed with diet cola. Hardly buy them now, even though, as Andy Griffith used to say, it is a "good cracker!"

7. York Peppermint Patty - The ersatz brands were almost never as good.

6. Oreos - probably the least healthy thing on the list. A transfat haven. I understand they have, or are in the midst of changing the formula, which could wreck them. Always consumed with milk.

5. Mounds - I almost never felt "like a nut", but went with this coconut-laden treat.

4. Graham crackers - they don't have to be Nabisco, but some of the store brands are not good at all. Many years ago, I used to soak them in milk, just shy of them disintegrating them into the beverage. Don't do that any more.

3. Carrot cake - STILL the item I want for my birthday. With milk or vanilla ice cream.

2. Fig Newtons - or any of those Newton products. Here's where vending machines are good for portion control. Two bars are OK; a half stack is bad. Usually with milk.

1. Ice cream - all kinds - vanilla, preferably French vanilla, with a bit of "bite" to it; strawberry; all variations of vanilla and chocolate together; and sundry fruity others. Some of the low fat/reduced fat things are OK, but there isn't a "no fat" item I've tasted that has been worth opening the freezer door for.

I did have banana bread, preferably homemade, on the list, but I suppose it may not be junky enough.
A convenient truth: In a remote controlled world, physical fitness gets the zap.
Mets, Cards tied at two games apiece. Let's go, METS! (Will Tigers be flat after a week off? I hope so.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Head Over Handlebars

I took a spill off my bike (coming down Everett Road in front of Krug's Market, for you locals) Thursday. It was downhill, so I was going at a good pace when I clipped the suddenly high curb and landed on the sidewalk. The palms of my hands hurt so much that I was nearly paralyzed in pain for about 10 minutes. My left knee is scraped, my right elbow hurts to the touch, and my right knee looks...awful. I'm glad I had my bike helmet on. My right wrist is very sore, but the good news is that it's sprained or strained, not broken; it's in some removable support brace, which I'll be wearing for a while. My glasses were slightly twisted, but were repairable.

On Thursday, I'll be starting with one-pound weights to try to strengthen the wrist.(I've been told that canned produce can be substituted for weights.)

So, if I get a little terse in the next few days - because I'll be typing, actually hunting-and-pecking, with my left (non-dominant) hand a lot - you'll know why. Fortunately, I tend to work a little ahead, so you won't have to go entirely without my pithy wisdom.
Follow closely: Boing Boing on October 13 had a link to Mike at Progressive Ruin's great post about the comic strip Nancy, which cited my piece of January 22 about a parody of the strip. Got that?

Thanks to Dan for noting that. He also sent me the other day:
"Watch and learn from this video from the TV. Amazing that Keith Olbermann is allowed in the corporate media. I read this morning that his Nielsen ratings are up 69 per cent in the last five weeks. LINK. If that doesn't work, try one of these other video styles, currently second from the top: Why Does Habeas Corpus Hate America. Every patriotic American should watch this."
"So Roger, half your mid-season prediction has come true." Now, I have to worry about the other half. Fred was already worried after Game 2. And what IS that thing on Scott Spiezio's chin?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

America at 300 Million

As you probably heard, The United States will welcome its 300 millionth living person, probably Tuesday around 7:30 a.m. EDT. (When I was doing math last month, I guessed it would be tomorrow at noon.)

So what I'd like to know is what advice would you like for that new resident? It might be a baby or immigrant.

I'd like to see if we can find ways to use up fewer of our natural resources, if we could find ways to listen more and talk less, to be courageous in the midst of doubters, and to be tolerant in the midst of fear. I also suggest voting as often as possible; it gives you the right to complain. There's a blood drive in my building, and the accompanying poster reads something like: "My dad says giving blood is as important as voting." I thought it was funny, since half the people don't vote, which, of course, gives those of us who do with more relative power.

What would YOU advise new Americans?
And speaking of voting, Buffalo Pundit describes the third-rail campaign of Congressman Tom Reynolds. (Thanks to Jaquandor for the lead.)
Welcome home from Mexico, Eddie! I tried to make the master CD yesterday and it was defective AGAIN, so next time for sure. But what constitutes being Rogerian? I do so love being the inspiration for an adjective.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Is It Bogus?

I got an e-mail yesterday, with the headline: Racist Girl Group Makes Billboard Charts:
September 22, 2006...What does it mean for Black America that a hate preaching music duo could debut on the Billboard albums chart? This week, the Billboard albums chart's top five is packed with nothing but new releases, with Bakersfield, CA Pop duo Prussian Blue shocking the nation by taking the [the number 4 slot] after selling 91,000 copies of "End of A Black World" its first week out. The album is also serving as the soundtrack to a remake of one of the most controversial movies in U.S. history "Birth Of A Nation". "End of A Black World" is the third and most successful album for 12 and 13 year old Lamb and Lynx, who have recently relocated to a private compound in Salt Lake City, Utah after their last album gained them national attention and death threats.

It goes on with a complaint by "Ted Shaw, civil rights advocate and president of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund," who called "for black artists to boycott Billboard." It has a Jessie Jackson quote. Lynx was apparently distressed about Dave Chapelle's sketch "depicting a blind, African American, Ku Klux Klan leader who was unaware that he was not white."

The problem is: I couldn't find this album ANYWHERE, including on the sisters' website; they are 14-year-old twins, BTW. What made it initially plausible were the links to the real ABC News stories here (a YouTube video) and here. In fact, the first part of the Ted Shaw quote comes from the linked article. This doesn't appear on my favorite mythbuster, but this is bogus. I always wonder who has the time or the inclination to make up such garbage.
Those of you not from the area may have missed the story about 2 guilty in sting case: Muslim immigrants face up to 25 years in prison:

Two Muslim immigrants who were targeted in an FBI sting were convicted on Tuesday of charges they supported terrorism by taking part in a fictitious plot to launder money from the sale of a shoulder-fired missile.
Yassin M. Aref, 36, a Kurdish refugee from northern Iraq whom the FBI identified as their "ultimate target," was found not guilty on 20 of 30 counts filed against him. But Aref was convicted of several key charges, including money laundering and conspiracy to support terrorism, arguably diminishing the effect of the jury's acquittals on two-thirds of the indictment against him.
Mohammed M. Hossain, 51, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bangladesh who arrived in the United States more than 20 years ago aboard a cargo ship, was found guilty on all 27 counts he faced, including conspiracy to support terrorism. Hossain, who co-founded the Central Avenue mosque where Aref was the spiritual leader, owns a pizzeria and was targeted only because of his close relationship with Aref, authorities said.
The case was launched in 2003, after Aref's name and Albany address were recovered from debris or notebooks in three suspected terrorist encampments during the early stages of the Iraq war. By that time, Aref already had been interviewed by FBI agents who had been assigned to visit mosques and ask Muslims to report any suspicious behavior.
The sting case began in July 2003 when an undercover informant went to Hossain's small pizza shop and befriended him while posing as a wealthy importer. At the time, Hossain was struggling to keep his business afloat while managing a couple of rental properties he purchased through a county property auction.
The informant offered to loan money to Hossain. The pizzamaker suggested Aref, his mosque's imam, be brought in to witness their loan transaction, which was what the FBI had hoped would happen.
Authorities contend the pair went along with the deal, even after the informant showed Hossain a shoulder-fired missile while disclosing that he earned money selling weapons to terrorists.
Defense attorneys countered the informant never made it clear the loan was connected to a terrorism plot or a specific terrorism organization, which the indictment alleged. They also said language barriers -- the three men all spoke different native languages -- prevented the defendants from understanding what was unfolding.
The case drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics of the Bush administration's post-9/11 counterterrorism tactics. The ACLU had joined the case at one point, unsuccessfully challenging the judge's decision to allow the government to make numerous classified filings in the case that remain sealed.

Earlier stories noted that "Aref also faces three separate charges for allegedly lying on a green card application and while being interviewed by FBI agents about his ties to a Kurdish political party." Much of the information was provided by an informant, who was under indictment in another matter.

This case troubled me in so many ways. Not surprisingly, the verdicts are being appealed, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the appeals are successful because:
* The informant is squirrely, and helped in entrapping the others.
* The language barrier was great. The two men convicted and the informant all had different native languages. Indeed, some of the original documents that placed them under suspicion were mistranslated by the government, with one of the men thought to have been addressed as "commander" when the actual word was something more benign, such as "fellow member".
* Most important is the judge's instruction to the jury, which stated that the FBI had reason for taking the action they did. It's not only prejudicial, it seems actionable by the entity that administers judges.
The local paper has a blog with a weekly feature, This week's 2-faced heads. "Every Friday, we pass along a little collection of potentially double-meaning headlines culled throughout the week from newspapers, wire services and online sites." Well, I found one in that paper Tour boat owner remains in cases. If you think of "remains" as a noun, this is a very funny headline about a very sad case, described in the subhead, "Mohican vessel operator kept as a defendant in Ethan Allen deaths", and the first paragraph: "ALBANY -- Two Lake George tour boat companies faced off in U.S. District Court Tuesday over the sinking of the Ethan Allen in which 20 senior citizens drowned."
One of my fellow bloggers, knowing I used to work in a comic book store, sent me a link about The Secret Origins of Batman, how Bob Kane (or his assistants) swiped a lot of work. This appeared a few months ago in a column I generally read, but somehow I missed it.

He also sent me a piece on pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, who did pretty much the same thing; there's even more info here and here. I never "got" Lichtenstein, whose fame I never understood, yet outstripped those he copped, except in the narrow world of comic books.
You'll find a picture of Mark Foley here. Apparently it's a real picture, but so what? A Republican President with a Republican member of Congress. Eh.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Subconscious misperception"

I'm reading the business librarians' listserv - yes, we have a [not-so-]secret cabal where we exchange information. I come across this piece:

I find it a strange and interesting "dichotomy" that people have concerning the Internet (Blogs, emails). We've been at our company looking a User Generated Content (blogs, RSS, etc). And trying to understand this "yet another variation" of cyberspace and how it impacts our company and our clientele. A recent survey by Pew on Bloggers, indicated that Bloggers "see" their blogs as a private thing, in spite of the fact they are using a public medium where everyone and anyone can see it. I cannot help but wonder if cell phones have influenced the blurring of private and public conversations. How many people have you "heard" in a public place that speaking loud enough for everyone in hearing distance on their cell phone, some conversations that really should not be made public.

Consider that there are many folks who are "concerned about privacy" and yet will freely give out information about themselves to telemarkers.

Things that make you go hmmmmm.

I thought it interesting enough to steal, er, borrow for my blog, but I thought I would ask her. In the TO: line was her name and the listserv name. I swore I had deleted the latter. That is, until I got back my own message, at which point I quickly apologized to the list. One respondent, Dan the Data Wrangler, wrote back: "Hey, no least it wasn't one that contained highly personal or salacious content. :-)" I replied, "I try not to do salacious."

In any case, in searching for the Pew study which the initial writer mentioned, I came across this Business Week article from July 19, 2006 entitled "Pew Blog Study Shows the Lure of Storytelling is High" by Heather Green:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has a new study out on blogging that finds that most people who blog do it to tell stories about their lives--not to write about politics, tech, or media.
One tidbit I found particularly interesting is that 55% of bloggers write using a pseudonym...
Pew found that about 8%, or 12 million American adults, blog, while 39% of the population, or 57 million people, read blogs.

This, as these things do, led me to another study, Bloggers' FAQ on Student Blogging:
According to a November 2005 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 19% of online teens keep a blog and 38% read them. This represents approximately four million students who blog and is a significantly higher percentage than the adult population (7%).

Then, this one: In court, blogs can come back to dog the writers; Use as evidence increases by Sacha Pfeiffer of the Boston Globe, September 28, 2006.

Yes, I'm blogging about blogging again, how I'm a part of a growing number of people putting out whatever random thoughts come to me on a regular basis, and part a slight minority of bloggers who actually doesn't write pseudonymously. But it's more about how I've seen people in blogs making curious choices about what they put out there. I know one buddy who put out info about his trip to Florida, but it was AFTER he got back - pretty clever, that one. Another chum noted problems at work; hey, I've noted my disdain for my new office - the white noise that otherwise would tend to put me to sleep, and as a result, how my caffeine consumption is way up - but that is something I would say, heck, HAVE said, to the powers that be. I don't say anything that I wouldn't want quoted out of context. Or at least, I try not to.

The initial quote above was in response to an ongoing dialogue; the previous post was from Dan, who wrote:

Personally, I think the last thing we need is more legislation about privacy, or anything else. As the author you quote notes, and as I hope we all know, anything you ever do, or anything you ever say, put into electronic form, or on paper can probably be retrieved. If you don't want someone to know what you think, keep it to yourself.

This is nothing new. Ever since the beginning of writing, if not earlier, the recipient of a message could do anything he wanted with it, and that's still true. The same is true of email or chat, as I'd hoped we all knew already.

In many chat programs when a session ends you're prompted as to whether or not you want to save a transcript. The person you're chatting with can save that file and do whatever he wishes with it. Tell the police? Blackmail? Send it to your spouse? Send it to the New York Times?

No matter what anyone thinks, privacy doesn't exist. It may have at one point, but it certainly doesn't now. Legislation will not change that one bit.

I think there is a subconscious misperception that what we put in blogs and e-mail are private. And I think that's a dangerous thing.

(Thanks to Al for the title.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Old Fogey Music, Volume 2

This is a follow-up to this post last spring, where I note what I covet musically, all put out by people who are over 50, some of them dead. I should note that everything on that list, save for the Beatles box, I now have, and enjoy, including the Johnny Cash album.

But before that, I've been thinking about musical storage, as a result of a question from GayProf. Back when I had a few dozen LPs, they were on a shelf in my room on the floor. In college, I used milk cartons, orange crates, and the traditional cinder blocks and planks.

Then I got hold of used metal racks from somewhere. They had a slight lean to them, so they could only be used in certain parts of the room. I remember once (or more) when a girlfriend thought it would look better somewhere not in a corner, and over my objections, I moved off all my LPs, moved the racks, then loaded the LPs. They stood for about 10 minutes, then collapsed, LPs and all. ("See, I TOLD you it wouldn't work!")

Finally, I bought a nice bookcase where my LPs would reside until I got married, when my wife "appropriated" it for the kitchen. My LPs are now in the entertainment center in the first floor, and in an old bookcase of hers on the third. Since the stereo is on the first, this is not what one would call...convenient.

Meanwhile, my CDs were in bookcases as well. When we first moved into this house, I put my CDs in one large bookcase, put some CDs in, then watched helplessly as it fell on top of me, because of the slope of the house. The bookcase was then braced to the wall, and that worked fine until some small person started removing the CDs.

So now my CDs are in four pieces of furniture especially designed for CDs, VCR tapes and the like. They were so hard to put together - they had arms that swing open - that I spent something like six hours putting together the first one, with help from my father-in-law, no less. So for my birthday last year, Carol hired someone to put the other three together. Item 1 contains the CDs A-Harris, item 2 Harrison-Sh, item 3 Si-Z, plus the TV, movie, and Broadway discs, then the compilation disc A-H, and item 4, compilation I-Z, plus the tribute albums, and the Christmas music.

And now, let the coveting/Christmas wish list begin. These are in order by release date:

The River in Reverse- Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint
Released: June 6, 2006
My first album by this artist: Get Happy!, 1980 (Costello). Oh, yeah, he's only 49.
While I have songs on compilations, and certainly songs that he wrote for other artists, I have no Allen Toussaint albums.

Highway Companion-Tom Petty
Released: July 25, 2006
My first album by this artist: Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

Modern Times-Bob Dylan

Released: August 29, 2006
My first album by this artist: Blonde on Blonde, 1966
Covet. Covet.

Overnight Sensational-Sam Moore
Released: August 29, 2006
My first album by this artist: Best of Sam and Dave, 1969, though my sister had some earlier albums.

Duets: An-American-Classic-Tony-Bennett and a whole bunch of folks
Released: September 26, 2006
My first album by this artist: Basie Swings, Bennett Sings, originally released 1958

Ray Sings, Basie Swings- Ray Charles and Count Basie

Released: October 3, 2006
My first album by this artist: Early Ray Charles, don't know the date, but it was an LP of his 1940s music, when he was still trying to sound like Nat "King" Cole. (Basie previously cited.)

Songs from the Labyrinth-Sting
Released: October 10, 2006
My first album by this artist: Outlandos d'Amour-the Police, 1979

Also, a good friend of mine recommended that I should get some Howard Tate, and I'm going to add Rediscovered to my list.

Finally, there is the Cirque du Soleil mashup of Beatles tunes for 'LOVE', which is supposed to be out next month, and which I will HAVE to get.

The priority list is probably, excluding 'LOVE': Dylan, Petty, Costello/Toussaint, Sting, Moore, Bennett, Tate, and Charles/Basie.

And if I don't get them for Christmas, there's always my birthday 2 1/2 months later, though it's unlikely I'd wait any longer for the Dylan and Beatles.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Read The News This Week: Oh, Boy

Carol and Lydia went away last weekend, to go to Carol's brother's daughter's fifth birthday party. I stayed home, did some banking, got my bike fixed TWICE (some very small piece of metal, maybe twice the thickness of a hair and a quarter inch long, kept flattening my rear tire), I cleaned the second floor, did some laundry, took out the compost, etc., etc.

But what I did mostly was read newspapers and watch TV. And not just any TV. I watched about a week's worth of the evening news. I think I was depressed.

Of course, there's the shootings at the Amish school in Lancaster County, PA, the county adjacent to where Carol and Lydia were going, actually, so I've seen those horse and buggies coexisting on the roadway with the cars of "the English", which is what the Amish call the non-Amish. I was interested to note that the strongest reaction to this event by my wife, more than sadness, more than the initial shock, was anger. This is a woman who just doesn't get all that angry, but I would define her reaction as really ticked off. I'm sure it was the victimization of girls, and that following the victimization of girls in the Colorado school shooting. For me, the Amish shootings were such shock, I had little reaction until I saw the deputy coroner describe how her job was to count the number of bullets in each of the dead girls' bodies, at which point, I actually cried about the incident for the first time.

Then there is the war in Iraq. It's easy to get inured to the death toll of American soldiers, not to mention the Iraqi body count. One friend of mine suggested that the "mainstream media" were underplaying the American deaths; I don't think so. I think it's that TWO SOLDIERS DEAD IN A ROADSIDE BOMB happens so often that it's, I'm afraid, NOT NEWS anymore. It's only when the number of American deaths spike, as they did during the first week in October, that it becomes particularly noteworthy. (Chris Black, from across the pond, gives excerpts from a Time magazine article about the war.

Of course, there's former congressman Mark Foley, who bugged lots of people not just because of his inappropriate e-mails, but because he was such a hypocrite, pushing legislation to protect children from Internet predators. Ben Stein complained on CBS Sunday Morning that there are more important issues, such as civil war in the Congo, genocide in Darfur, and the war we're losing in Afghanistan. True, but I think policy wonk Stein is being disingenuous; the issue has largely ceased to be about Foley and children, and more about power, and who'll control Congress come January. Should Hastert resign his post? Don't think it matters terribly much; he'll be gone as Speaker by January one way or another.

And there are lots of stories people care about, such as the state of Matt Lauer's marriage, and other celebrity gossip that I don't care a whit about.

A real Page 3 story is about these unexploded explosives, about a million of them the size of soda cans, that Israel dumped on Lebanon during the 34-day war with Hezbollah. The munitions, mostly American-made, have been injuring three people per day, and killing a few, since the Lebanese have returned to the towns they had evacuated during the fighting.

Which leads me to the story I thought was most inspiring this past week. It's about a number of white South African mothers who are providing breast milk for black South African babies whose mothers have died from AIDS and are in orphanages. It was such an inspiring story that a woman in the Midwest with a 10-month old heard about it, and she and her friends are sending frozen breast milk to the orphanage, shipped for free by DHL. I'm so glad for some of these upbeat stories to leaven the melancholy that 22 minutes of the news would otherwise cause me.

BTW, I tried to find the story on the ABC News website, searching for "breast milk" and I got: "You've entered a Search search term that is likely to contain adult content." This SO cracked me up that it didn't bother me that I couldn't find the story until I Googled it. There's a link here that does link to the ABC News story.

Also, it makes me believe that rooting for sports teams, an activity some people I know think is silly (I'm still holding to the Mets over the Tigers, both of whom advanced) is, if not done excessively, a useful exercise in mindless fun. Sure, it isn't war and peace. It's (mostly) nice stories, such as a Tigers team that lost 119 games three years ago (one fewer than the infamous 1962 Mets) winning a playoff series with a pitcher, Jeremy Bonderman, who lost 19 games that year, the day after Yankee castoff Kenny (the Gambler) Rogers shut out the Bronx Bombers. It's about players such as Jose Reyes and David Wright coming up through the Mets' minor league ranks ranks, succeeding and not being jerks, at least not yet, and the satisfaction that former Dodgers such as Shawn Green and Paul LoDuca felt eating their old team. Useful mindlessness, that's what it is.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The John Lennon Holiday

When I worked at a certain comic book store, the boss, an iconoclastic sort, decided that some holidays were not all that important (Washington's Birthday, Columbus Day) but that he wanted to pick others, such as Martin Luther King's birthday (this was before the holiday), and John Lennon's birthday.

So, I always chuckle inside when Columbus Day and John Lennon's birthday coincide. Columbus Day as the second Monday in October took effect in 1971. The two events coincided in 1972, 1978, 1989 - thus missing my entire tenure (1980-1988) at the store - 1995, and 2000, and will happen again in 2017, 2023, 2028, 2034, 2045, 2051, 2056, 2062, 2073, and 2079.

So, if you think that celebrating Columbus Day is somehow inappropriate, yet you're not comfortable with Indigenous Peoples Day, celebrate John Lennon Day today. He would have been 66.
Gordon uses his psychic power on me.
Happy Thanksgiving, Canada! Happy birthdays this week for niece Markia and friend Norman. Also, happy anniversary to Norm and Jay.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon is a movie I should go see.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

ALBUM REVIEW: We Shall Overcome

I grew up hearing the LP version of Pete Seeger's "We Shall Overcome" album "recorded live at his historic Carnegie Hall Concert, June 8, 1963". In the mid 1960s, I listened to it as much as I listened to the Beatles' Second Album or Beatles '65, which is to say, a LOT. It was an album my father enjoyed as well.

Ironically, I suppose, I was inspired to get a CD version of this album by the release of We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions by Bruce Springsteen - now available in the American Land Edition that people either love or feel gouged by. (I'll probably just download the extra tunes.)

Anyway, when I got We Shall Overcome: Complete Carnegie Hall Concert, it totally confounded me. A piece of music I knew note-for-note, I didn't know at all. All the things on the LP are there, but in radically different order, in a different context. Many of the LP cuts were truncated.

Here's the playlist of the 2 CD set. The numbers in parentheses are the cut numbers of the original album (8 songs on one side, 5 on the other)

Disc: 1
1. Audience
2. Banjo Medley: Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/Leather Britches
3. Lady Margaret
4. Mrs. McGrath
5. Mail Myself to You (10)
6. My Rambling Boy
7. A Little Brand New Baby
8. What Did You Learn in School Today? (5)
9. Little Boxes (6)
10. Mrs. Clara Sullivan's Letter
11. Who Killed Norma Jean? (7)
12. Who Killed Davey Moore? (8)
13. Farewell
14. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (9)
15. Didn't He Ramble (Fragment)
16. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize (2)
17. If You Miss Me At The Back Of The Bus (1)
18. I Ain't Scared Of Your Jail (3)
19. Oh Freedom (4)
Disc: 2
1. Audience
2. Skip To My Lou
3. Sweet Potatoes
4. Deep Blue Sea
5. Sea Of Mercy (Fragment)
6. Oh Louisiana
7. (The Ring on My Finger Is) Johnny Give Me
8. Oh What A Beautiful City
9. Lua Do Sertao (Moon Of The Backland)
10. The Miserlou
11. Polyushke Polye (Meadowlands)
12. Genbaku O Yurusumagi (Never Again The A-Bomb)
13. Schtille Di Nacht (Quiet Is The Night)
14. Viva La Quince Brigada (Long Live The Fifteenth Brigade)
15. Tshotsholosa (Road Song) (12)
16. This Land Is Your Land
17. From Way Up Here
18. We Shall Overcome (13)
19. Mister Tom Hughes's Town
20. Bring Me Li'l' Water Silvy
21. Guantanamera (11)

The concert as performed had a series of themes. After a couple introductory tunes, disc one has a group of new tunes by songwriters such as Tom Paxton and Bob Dylan, mentioned by name on the CD, but not the LP. On "Who Killed Davey Moore?" Pete says, "This is a different kind of elegy," then misfingers his guitar before starting, which gives it a greater power; this is all missing on the LP. In fact, a couple other little gaffes are edited out, unnecessarily, I think.

The four songs from the Southern section are there, albeit in a different order. I suppose I understand removing references to upcoming concerts, but it was only on the CD that I realized that members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee were present on stage.

The next segment, the first half of the second CD, is comprised of familiar songs, missing entirely from the LP; perhaps they had appeared on then-recent Seeger albums. Then there was the "world" segment, represented only by "Tshotsholosa". Out of context -i.e., on the album, you miss the fact that Pete had gotten people to actually rehearse the stirring response, which is still a highlight of the album.

About two minutes of dialogue is removed from the final song before the encore, "We Shall Overcome". Again, some announcement of a coming concert is gone, but other conversation had been unnecessarily cut out.

Then the CD concludes with three encore songs, the last of which, "Guantanamera", was stuck in the middle of the second side of the LP.

I'm enjoying the CD, but it was as though the Beatles had intended to put out an album called Yesterday and Today, and you knew that album cold, but what you later discover is that the original was really comprised of the second side of the British album Help, the songs We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper, the entire British Rubber Soul album, the songs Paperback Writer and Rain, and the entire British Revolver album. All the songs are there, but there's SO much more, and with an entirely different feel.