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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An Annual Tradition

Since it's Halloween, and I always associate the holiday with bats, I thought I'd give my annual report on the flying mammal in our lives. Some of you may remember that we had had live sightings in our home in 2001-2005 and again in 2006

Actually, Carol saw one at school in the winter months, most unusual.

I saw one in the boys' locker of the local YMCA back in July. I immediately went to the front desk and the center director and a custodian trapped it quite efficiently. I was razzed by my friends for leaving, but it wasn't fear of the animal as much as fear that someone else coming into the locker room might be freaked out. It's likely that the bat came down a HVAC vent that was being cleaned out.

My wife has unbridled optimism. Our bat last year arrived on August 1, and since we'd each seen a bat elsewhere, she figured we were safe. But on the night of August 24/25, in the midst of a return of hot and humid weather that had abated for a couple weeks, she (but not I) was awakened by something. Yes, it was another bat. As it flew into the guest room, carol closed the door and stuffed a towel under the door, and went back to bed, but probably did not sleep well. Come morning, she and I went into the room, with badminton racquets at the ready. We saw nothing until I hit my fall jacket that was hanging on the door, and down fell the bat, slightly stunned. Immediately, carol put her racquet on it, and we managed to get the beast in a shoebox, just as Lydia came into the room.

We taped up the box, I poked holes in it, and Carol eventually took it to the health department. A few days later, it was confirmed not to be rabid. But it HAD been alive, something that the person opening the box was...surprised to find. The drop-off place was unstaffed and the form we usually fill out in these cases was not there. So, oops, sorry.

Yes, we had netting in the possible entrance points, and we THINK we won't have one next year. I'll let you know.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Underplayed Vinyl: Jefferson Airplane

For the longest time, perhaps into the early 1980s, I thought Surrealistic Pillow was the first JA album. Not so; Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, with Signe Anderson as the female vocalist, got all the way to #128 in the Billboard charts in late 1966. But it was the second album, with Grace Slick, formerly of the group The Great Society, that created the required alchemy. Here's a bunch of YouTube clips - some are performance videos, others pastiches.
1. She Has Funny Cars

2. Somebody To Love (a #5 single in 1967)
3. My Best Friend
4. Today
5. Comin' Back To Me
6. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
7. D.C.B.A.
8. How Do You Feel
9. Embryonic Journey (used on the last episode of Friends, I understand)
10. White Rabbit - went to #8 on the charts

11. Plastic Fantastic Lover

The album went to #3 and spent 56 weeks on the charts. I always thought the strength of this album, and of the group generally, was the strength of the various vocalists/songwriters: Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen.

Grace Slick turns 58 today.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Johnny Bacardi's blogiversary

Make your custom magnet at
Custom Ribbon Magnet: What's Goin' On

So, Johnny Bacardi hit his blog's fifth anniversary, then quit it. It's a great valedictory piece, starting with the sound clip "Five Years" by David Bowie; the given names of both David Bowie and Johnny Bacardi is David Jones. Fortunately, Johnny's still doing his LiveJournal. So, ironically, everything on this post was used in Johnny's LJ in 2005.

Which Bob Dylan song are you?

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Personality Test Results

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Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

I feel like I'm forgetting someone else's blogiversary. I mean, Lefty hit his fourth, but even HE forgot that.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


There are people who really love the fall; I'm not one of them. I did notice, however, that when the family went pumpkin picking in Feura Bush, only abut 10 minutes from the Albany city line but most definitely rural, the colors were astonishingly more vibrant than any of the pale palate I've experienced in the city.

But the past week also had its own specific issues. Elizabeth Naismith, a member until the last couple years of the First Presbyterian choir died a couple weeks back, but her funeral wasn't until yesterday. Her mother and she had their own cheese shop in Edinburgh Scotland, until her mother died, then she came to the United States to take care of an ailing uncle in Vermont. She finally made her way to Albany, where at age 70, she joined a church, my church, for the first time. She was a lovely, caring woman with a slight brogue. We left an empty chair with a robe draped on it when we sang for her service yesterday. Her obit is here.

Two other First Pres choir members were in the hospital this week, and those two I knew from my previous church, Trinity, as well. After singing all weekend with a shortness of breath, he went into the hospital Monday with pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) of the lung; she had a less serious medical procedure on Friday.

I worried about my sister and niece in the California fires, though that ended up with a good outcome.

Finally, there were a bunch of kids at Binghamton Central High School in the late 1960s who were the anti-war, left of center crowd. But we were all friends as well, partying together, sometimes romancing each other. We dubbed ourselves "Holiday Unlimited", and our theme was "A splendid time is guaranteed for all", which we copped from some pop song.

George Hasbrouck was one those folks. He died Sunday, October 7 at his home in Morristown NJ. He was 55. No cause of death was given in the obit in The Binghamton Press a couple weeks ago. We had all lost touch with George, though many had tried; as one friend put it, "he eschewed contact." His obit is here.

The last time I saw him was probably 17 years ago at the BCHS Class of '70's 20th reunion. Yet I still feel quite sad about it.

So, it was a bit of a downer of a week. Sorry.


Saturday, October 27, 2007


I was reading Steve Gerber's blog when he noted that singer Robert Goulet has the same disease that he does, only more severe. A couple letter-writers debated Bob's coolness; Steve stayed out of the fray. For the record, I've long stopped worrying about what's cool.

A couple bloggers I know faced ridicule by admitting publicly that they liked the movie Jersey Girl; I'll withhold their names to protect the guilty. I never saw it, so I really can't say if it's as awful as some people think.

I am aware, however, of what others think are uncool. So, my question: what songs, movies, TV shows, books, whatever, do you think others think are uncool, but you like them anyway? No movie or book come to mind, but I do have a vague recollection of actually liking My Mother, The Car. (I was young.)

Music, on the other hand, I have some strong candidates. And they're not songs; they're bits of songs:
The piano intro of Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow. Hey, he copped it from Chopin.
The strings at the end of I Haven't Got Time For The Pain by Carly Simon.
The tight vocal segment "not quite a year since you went away" from Rosanna by Toto.
The "I've been looking for an answer" part of I've Been Waiting So Long by Chicago.
Almost any pop song with backed by a black church choir -I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner; Lay Down (Candles In the Rain) by Melanie; actually the latter IS virtually the whole song.

How uncool are you?

(Image copped from here.)
Based on a conversation I had on a bus yesterday, there are a lot of people who think that Daylight Saving Time ends tomorrow. Their calendars even say so. That would be incorrect. It has been moved to NEXT weekend. So don't be an hour late tomorrow; it'd be uncool.


Friday, October 26, 2007

The Lydster, Part 43: Safe

One of the tricks of parenthood is to make sure that they're not eating or touching things that will harm them, of course. My sister Leslie has been sending me the regular updates from the Consumer Product Safety Commission; I could go to the site, but she's taken on the task. In one recall, there were several Dora the Explorer items recalled because of lead paint content. Lydia has a Dora doll that she adores, and naturally holds closely. Fortunately, I didn't find that particular item on the list, but it was understandably disconcerting.

More recently, I've been baffled by the voluntary recall of children's medicines that included:
Dimetapp(R) Decongestant Plus Cough Infant Drops,
Dimetapp(R) Decongestant Infant Drops,
Little Colds(R) Decongestant Plus Cough,
Little Colds(R) Multi-Symptom Cold Formula,
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Drops Decongestant (containing pseudoephedrine),
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Drops Decongestant & Cough (containing pseudoephedrine),
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Decongestant (containing phenylephrine),
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Long-Acting Cough,
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Decongestant & Cough (containing phenylephrine),
Robitussin(R) Infant Cough DM Drops,
Triaminic(R) Infant & Toddler Thin Strips(R) Decongestant,
Triaminic(R) Infant & Toddler Thin Strips(R) Decongestant Plus Cough,
TYLENOL(R) Concentrated Infants' Drops Plus Cold,
TYLENOL(R) Concentrated Infants' Drops Plus Cold & Cough.
Two of those specific items were in our medicine chest!
The basis of the concern, as I understand, is that children under 2 years have been overly medicated. I actually called my pharmacist, and he said that since my daughter's over two, it would be OK. But then, a short time later, a panel of the Food and drug Administration concluded that "children under the age of 6 should not be using cold and cough medicines because they have not been proven to be effective or safe." And since she's under 6, and since she has a cold, I'm not sure what to do. And I hate that.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Beckster

I've been looking through a particular photo album a lot recently; I have a couple dozen books, but this one seems to get the most play recently. The pictures are from 1980 to 1982. It contains pictures from my early FantaCo days, the "royal wedding", and my old friend Deborah. It also has pictures of my niece Becky, the daughter of my sister Leslie:
These are rather tiny - though clicking on them should help - but the pose of her holding her doll is unmistakably familiar to me. I knew Lydia looked quite a bit like her at that age, but seeing these pictures was still a bit of a shock to the system.
Becky got married last year to Rico. She's been busy with her singing career; among other gigs, she is the vocalist with with house band for Anthology, the new jazz club in the Little Italy section of San Diego. Plus, she's going to school and dealing with real estate. She appeared on the cover of a San Diego-area magazine in the last month:

Her birthday is tomorrow. Happy birthday, eldest niece.
Love, Uncle Roger
Not so incidentally, Becky and Leslie appear to be safe from the raging California fires.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Can't Keep Up with the News

I read and watch the news regularly. Yet it was only yesterday that I discovered Radiohead's "In Rainbows": Track-By-Track Preview, posted on October 1 by Rolling Stone magazine. As you may know, the new album has an unusual "pay what you will" pricing schedule.

I somehow missed the story about what's her face suggesting that we'd better off if women were denied the vote in the United States. On the other hand, there's a movement afoot to just ignore her, which, in fact, I usually do.

But mostly, I'm surprised that it wasn't until yesterday that I discovered that we are in the midst of "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week", reportedly on 200 college campuses, "to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat. Nothing could be more politically incorrect than to point this out. But nothing could be more important for American students to hear...Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a national effort to oppose these lies and to rally American students to defend their country." The reaction against this can be found here and here and probably lots of places in ways better than I could.

And, yes, I'm one of those "liberals" who have trouble with the term Islamofascist. I think many people would balk a term such as Christofascist, which suggests, at least to me, that the faith is INHERENTLY fascistic, rather than an aberration of Christianity, expressed well in this story from three years ago about the Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism by Chris Hedges, that I read recently.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I called my niece Becky last night. She and her husband Rico were over at my sister Leslie's house in San Diego County, California, gathering materials in case they need to evacuate their homes because of the wildfires. Last year, the fires were close enough that Leslie could see, and taste, the smoke from the fires, but this year, the flames are much closer, and depending on the direction of the quirky Santa Ana winds, they may be required to leave at any time. So far, in the county, 500 homes and 100 businesses have already been destroyed by fire.

To that end, they are packing up their cars with necessary items. After the call, I found this site, which includes a list that would be useful in case of most any evacuation:
* A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
* One change of clothing and footwear per person and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
* A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
* Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
* An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash, or traveler's checks.
* Sanitation supplies.
* Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
* An extra pair of eyeglasses.
* Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Assemble a smaller version of your kit to keep in the trunk of your car.
In the latter category, we were talking about passports, driver's licenses, and Social Security cards. I also suggested a deck of cards and a couple paperback books, to stave off possible boredom.

I discovered that, while she has my phone numbers programmed into her cell phone, she, probably like many others, don't have my phone numbers or e-mail in an accessible place if the cell service is down (or the cell phone runs out of juice) and she doesn't have access to a computer. (That's probably true of me and phone numbers/e-mail addresses as well.)

So, keep a good thought.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Hello, it's me

No idea where I found this:
Click to view my Personality Profile page
I told you I was shy. Why do so few people believe me?
Someone was complaining about my spelling of the word pierogi (as pierogy) recently, even though most sources cite both as correct. It's in that spirit, and in honor of Dictionary Day last week (yes, I missed it, alas), that I share this piece about some other words where the standard spelling is changing:

Besides the last of the Rat Pack guy, whose late-night show I used to watch - Regis Philbin was his sidekick; and that From Here To Eternity woman - still a steamy sea scene a half century later; I noticed the death recently of Vernon Bellecourt, who led the "charge against Indians as sports mascots". More than merely the nickname, the goofy image of the Indians logo has long given me pause. In any case, the Red Sox whomped Cleveland last night, so it'll be Boston who I'll be rooting for against Colorado.
I'm recommending you read Dan Van Riper's October 14 piece on Yassin Aref, who was almost certainly convicted in a bogus FBI operation. On a lighter note, see how ADD discovers he's not five years old anymore and how Scott answers questions posed by, among others, me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Second Saturday in October

That was one busy Saturday eight days ago. Some of you will understand the need (of my wife) for us to clean the house in anticipation of someone coming over to clean the house; that was the post-breakfast activity. And we were also trying out a new babysitter, Annie, to replace our old sitters Anna (who went to college) and Anne (a busy HS senior).

So the babysitter came, the housekeeper came, and I got picked up by my friend Rocco. Rocco was a kid who used to be a FantaCo customer who became a FantaCo employee in the early 1980s. We traversed over to the Elks Lodge in Troy to go to a comic book program, organized by former FantaCo customer Dave Palladino.

We went to the artists' table and talked to three guys with a strong FantaCo connection:
John Hebert was the artist on a book I co-wrote, Sold Out and worked at a couple FantaCons, before moving on to fame and fortune. He's getting married next year, and herein is the proof:

Fred Hembeck, who I saw for the third time this year (yay!), was doing the big reveal of an anthology of his seven books published by FantaCo, plus over 600 MORE pages, news that would soon be wildly and exuberantly cheered by the comics blogisphere. He had on hand a binder that featured the black and white version of the color cover:

Bill Anderson, who I see more often than the others, worked at Fantaco, off and on, between 1984 and 1996, but even before that, embellished some of Hembeck pages, before becoming the inker extraordinaire.

Rocco and I had great conversations with them and with Fred's daughter Julie, between her stints reading homework. She told me she likes doing these trips because it gets her out of the house and because Fred "really needs a navigator," which even he would admit is true.

I also had some lengthy conversations with other former customers and employees. Talked at length about the late Raoul Vezina (a post for next year) and FantaCo's founder, Tom Skulan, who has gone into a different line of work.

At some point, I returned to the artists' table, and a couple little kids asked me to sign a Mars Attacks mini-comic that FantaCo had published. I didn't have anything to do with it, except shipping it to distributors, and escorting its writer Mario Bruni a Capital Cities Distributor show in Madison, WI back in 1988 so we could promote it. But I signed them anyway.

I now remember why some folks find comic book people really weird, as I heard a number of stories, including Golden-Gate, some debacle involving Michael Golden and a Doctor Strange drawing. It's interesting in a very bizarre way.

I had a surprisingly good time, though I didn't buy anything, except for some food. Check Fred's October 20th post for his take on the event.

Rocco dropped me home long enough to go back out to the drug store and grocery store, before a second babysitter came. We'd NEVER had two babysitters in one day, EVER, but we really wanted to go the 30th anniversary party for our friends, Paul and Mary Liz Stewart, as it turned out, at my church. After a wonderful dinner, there was a short segment of singing to and telling stories about the Stewarts, MCed by me (I learned about this at 10 a.m. that day), thus once again ruining my self-image as a shy person.

It was a good day.


Saturday, October 20, 2007


A couple weeks ago, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominated these folks to be voted on:
Afrika Bambaataa
The Beastie Boys
Leonard Cohen
Donna Summer
The Ventures
Chic (third year)
The Dave Clark Five (third year)
John Mellencamp (second year)
The results will be announced early next January, with the awards ceremony in March.

1. Who will be selected this year? I'm guessing Madonna, Afrika and the Beastie Boys - I don't think you can pick the Beastie Boys (or indeed most hip hop/rap artists) without picking Afrika; but as to the other two, I really don't know. Maybe DC5 and Chic because they're repeaters. Leonard Cohen should be in the Hall as a songwriter, not a singer.

2. Who would you like to be selected this year? For me, Madonna, Afrika, and DC5.

3. There are a number of people, some of whom are listed here (lower half of the page) who've been bypassed for the Hall. Who would you like to see? My picks: Peter Gabriel and/or Genesis, Graham Parker. I also would love to see some consideration to some more commercial bands such as - OK, I'll admit it - the Doobie Brothers.

Oh, and on another topic:

4. What do you think of the FCC plan to ease limits on media owners?


Friday, October 19, 2007


Did you miss me? I was gone a couple days at a conference of the New York State Data Center Affiliates, and I didn't have any Internet connection (though I was able to purloin someone's computer to post yesterday.) Did anything happen? World War III didn't happen yet, apparently.

The Boston Red Sox are still alive. They've decided they need one more game then one game after that, rather than thinking, before yesterday's match that they needed three wins. Reminds me, actually, of a racquetball match my partner Ty and I were in earlier in the week. We were down 2-8, game to 11, but instead of thinking we needed 9 points, we decided to try to win a point at a time, and it worked.

I'm sorry that Joe Torre's gone from the Yankees, but $5 million plus incentives ain't bad for an MLB manager.

I've figured out my daughter's hip hop name. There's a sign near our day care that says EMERGENCY, and Tuesday, I was showing her our last name, GREEN, which are the middle five letters, scrambled. So, she can be EM CY GREEN, or maybe just EMERGENCY.

More content tomorrow, I'm hoping.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Three word answers

I snagged this from Jaquandor, again. "You answer each question with three words, and only three words. Three. 'Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.'"

At least three answers I just stole outright.

1. Where is your cell phone?:

Missing in action.

2. Your boyfriend?:

I need definition.

3. Your hair?:

Less than most.

4. Where is your father?:

Buried in Carolina.

5. Cheesecake?:

I'd love some!

6. Your favorite thing to do?:

Listen to music.

7. Your dream last night?:

Out of focus.

8. Your favorite drink?:

White, white wine.

9. Your dream car?:

Do not care.

10. The room you’re in?:

Warm and messy.

11. George Bush?:

Well, which one?

12. Your fears?

Nothing jumps out.

13. Nipple rings?

No, thank you.

14. Who did you hang out with last night?

My work colleagues.

15. What you’re not good at?

Most mechanical things.

16. Your best friend?

Pick just one?

17. One of your wish list items?

American Beatles discs.

18. Where did you grow up?

Binghamton, New York.

19. The last thing you did before survey?

Attendede a workshop.

20. What are you wearing?

The usual fare.

21. Tattoo on the small of a back?

No tattoos, thanks.

22. Ketchup?

On French fries.

23. Your computer?

A necessary evil.

24. Your life?

Usually in flux.

25. Your mood?

Usually in flux.

26. Missing?

Raoul, Nancy, Donna.

27. What are you thinking about right now?

Three-word answers.

28. Your car?

Don't drive it.

29. Your work?

Stimulates my brain.

30. Your summer?

It's all right.

31. Your relationship status?

Off the market.

32. Your favorite color(s)

Green, blue, purple.

33. When is the last time you laughed?

Just this morning.

34. Last time you cried?

Not that hard.

35. High school?

Was all right.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pulling an Eddie Mitchell

The title comes from this post by Lefty Brown, where he defines it as not blog posting as much as you should. In this post, Lefty also wrote: "I want Roger Green to dress up as Cornel West for Halloween...and post a pic on his blog." Ain't gonna happen; not only do I not have the hair, but if I walk around looking like Cornel West, NO ONE WILL GET IT.

And in honor of that: Cornel West on what does it mean to be a leftist; it's only eighty seconds long, unlike some of the other 160-odd pieces about the author on YouTube:

I wrote something nice about the Lefty Side of the Dial podcast - it's somewhere in iTunes - and Lefty hasn't podcast since. I'm feeling almost guilty that I may have somehow embarrassed him. Come back, Lefty!

Oh, and speaking of Eddie Mitchell, he did a video-infested post. I want to discuss two:
The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun- Julie Brown: Some people seem to think that in a post-Columbine world, it should be banned. I guess I just don't, though I have no good argument why, except for my general disdain for censorship. Also, the line about throwing down "your gun and your tiara" always cracks me up.
Johnny Get Angry-k.d. lang: I saw this at the time it originally aired. It led indirectly to a shared obsession with lang that I had with my ex. Actually, she was even more k.d.-centric than I. Nice memory.

I'm now watching about an hour of TV a day and taping about two; recipe for deleting programs on the DVR, unwatched.

Please vote for Binghamton, NY, my hometown, as pierogy capital. You can vote every day, once a day, through October 23. Yes, Buffalo, the defending champion, is on the list again, and even enlisted some high-powered female politician who's running for President to help in the cause, but, believe me, Binghamton needs it more. What IS a pierogy? For one thing, it's spelled several different ways. For another, it's a "pocket food" that I first had when I was five or six, growing up in a Slavic neighborhood, as I did.

I love adjectives. Here's list of eponymous adjectives and one of animal adjectives.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Keys to My Past

I saw another one of those 5 things you don't know about me memes. Seems I'm disinclined to come up with five, though.

As I may have mentioned, when I was 17, I worked at a summer camp in northern Pennsylvania, mowing lawns, emptying mouse traps and the like. Lots of lawn mowing, so much so that I dreamed about it, and had a bizarre deja vu experience. It was a dreadful place that promised us X amount of money and ended up shortchanging everyone. My girlfriend at the time had worked there in a previous year and practically begged me not to go; a week after I got there, she too went to work there again in the dining room. Ah, young love.

One of my jobs was to fill up the soda machine with Pepsi products. After I left, I realized that I still had the special key to open the machine. I didn't take it intentionally, but I was disinclined to send it back - and they never asked.

Several months later, I had the key in my pocket, and I was at an ARCO or Mobil gasoline station near my house that was closed for the night; there was a time when gas stations actually closed. The station had a Pepsi machine in front. I tried the key; it worked! I never stole any soda from station, but at least one other time, I used the key to see that it still worked, and it did.

Eventually, I went away to college, and my life. I came across a key chain last week that contained keys to padlocks long gone, an office key from where I worked in 1978 and a bunch of identifiable keys. Oh, yes, and that Pepsi machine key. I finally threw them all away. It was, after all this time, surprisingly easy now, when it hadn't been the last time I came across that key chain, for some reason.

Yet I still wonder if that key would have still worked.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Roger Green, Lobbyist

Per Jaquandor:

1. Go to

2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.

3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.

4. Post the top ten results.

Here now the results:
1. Lobbyist - not gonna happen.
2. Actor - "To be, or whatever." Haven't even been in a local production since 1985, when I was the hard-drinking Simon Stimpson in a production of Our Town.
3. Tour Guide - actually, I could do that.
4. Librarian - hmm, maybe I should consider that...
5. Criminologist -really? I've only seen CSI once.
6. Dental Assistant - the idea of flossing others doesn't really appeal to me.
7. Professor - I've taught one session of one business course a few times, but as a full-time gig, I don't know.
8. Anthropologist - Could be interesting.
9. Comedian - This IS funny. If there is one of these I'm TOTALLY unqualified for, it's this. I can be funny, but I have no capacity for jokes. On the other hand, if I were on a sitcom, playing it straight, maybe.
10. Communications Specialist - I could do that.

Actually, the next 10 seem to be more on target:
11. Critic
12. Casting Director
13. Activist
14. Public Policy Analyst
15. Political Aide
16. Print Journalist
17. Musician
18. Writer
19. Library Technician
20. Composer

Oh, what the heck. The next 20:

21. Market Research Analyst
22. Translator
23. Dispatcher
24. Special Effects Technician
25. Public Relations Specialist
26. Airline Customer Service Agent
27. Career Counselor
28. Cashier
29. Magician
30. Dancer
31. Customer Service Representative - been there, done that
32. Religious Worker
33. Esthetician
34. Community Worker
35. Funeral Director
36. Nail Technician
37. Foreign Service Officer
38. Director
39. Hairstylist
40. Clergy - the only one on this part of the list I actually ever considered doing, other than the one I've already one.

Interestingly, I added my education and skills and the list changed somewhat.
A Very Good Match
B Good Match
C Fair Match
D Questionable Match
F Poor Match

1. Lobbyist B
2. Actor B
3. Tour Guide C
4. Criminologist B
5. Librarian B
6. Anthropologist B
7. Professor B
8. Comedian B
9. Communications Specialist A
10. Activist B
11. Casting Director B
12. Critic A
13. Public Policy Analyst B
14. Political Aide B
15. Writer A
16. Print Journalist B
17. Musician D
18. Translator C
19. Market Research Analyst B
20. Composer D
21. Special Effects Technician C
22. Public Relations Specialist B
23. Career Counselor A
24. Dancer C
25. Customer Service Representative B
26. Religious Worker A
27. Community Worker B
28. Foreign Service Officer B
29. Director B
30. Clergy A
31. Sport Psychology Consultant A
32. Foreign Language Instructor C
33. ESL Teacher B - what my wife does
34. Rehabilitation Counselor A
35. Politician A
36. Psychologist A
37. Corporate / Commercial Lawyer A
38. Historian B
39. Lawyer B - which I did consider, once upon a time
40. Civil Litigator B

So maybe my next career will be communication specialist/writer/critic/clergy. Any jobs in that field?


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Robert , Declan and Amos

Negotiations and love songs: a couple weeks ago, Carol and I received tickets to go to the Albany Symphony on September 28. Bereft of babysitters, it meant one of us could go, but one would have to stay home with Lydia. Since my friend Rocco, who I've known since my FantaCo days in the early 1980s, had finally secured tickets for him, his girlfriend Kara and me to see Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello at the Times Union Center on October 6, guess who went to ASO? Hint: she went with one of her girlfriends.

On October 6, Rocco picked me up at home, having already dropped off Kara and another couple. We parked only three blocks away, on Madison Avenue, but the rainstorm of a couple hours earlier returned, so Rocco got a little wet; I was wearing my rain slicker, just in case. I went looking for cheap souvenirs; in the land of $35 and $40 T-shirts, there were none.

Amos Lee and his band started; I must admit that, though he must have at least two albums, I had never heard of him. The music was somewhat folky and jazzy, sometimes sounding like The Band, maybe because of the heavy organ sound. He did five uptempo songs, then two slower sons - a mistake for an opening act, I think, because, in anticipating the headliners, everyone knows he's not going to end with a ballad. That said, I really liked the band and all the vocals; on at least one song, he sounded eeriely like John Hiatt. I enjoyed the songs, too, except the slower What's Going On Here, which just couldn't stand up next to the song it evoked, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On.

There's a 10- or-15-minute break, then, without warning or introduction, Elvis Costello, all dressed in black, launches into The Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes, followed by Blue Chair; I was trying to remember if he had any songs with the word Yellow in them, so that he could cover all the primary colors. During these two songs, streams of people were pouring back to their seats, more or less in our sight line, so this was a bit distracting. Elvis then did a great set on solo guitar. On Oliver's Army, and later songs, he did a false ending that milked the applause.

Elvis talked a bit about how his father always told him to "look down on a note"; he admits that he STILL has no idea what he's talking about. After Down Among the Wines and Spirits, which I presume is a (great) new song, he talked about his twin boys, who had turned ten months old that day, and American citizens, and he expressed his hope that, someday, his sons will be President and Vice-President, something, he noted, the current governor of California cannot do. He mentioned, not by name, his wife, who is "a piano player" (Diana Krall), who was backstage with the boys, and that the sons were "carny kids". I theorized that Elvis was particularly chatty because of his long history in Albany, going back over a quarter century.

He ended with Veronica; Radio Sweetheart, the "first song I ever recorded", which effectively segued into Van Morrison's Jackie Wilson Said; Peace, Love and Understanding, surprisingly maintaining its anthemic quality with just guitar and vocal; and the moving The Scarlet Tide.

A somewhat longer break took place, and I went out to try to figure out something. As I noted, we were in Section 102. So there was a sign in the hall that read 102 - 101, then another that read 103-102, 104-103, etc. This meant that the higher number was on the left and the lower number was on the right. This explained why no fewer than 10 parties came into our section telling people that they were sitting in their seats, when in fact, THEY were in the wrong section. One person sat in Kara's seat while she and Rocco were in the lobby, and I redirected her. In retrospect, the designers should have numbered the sections from left to right, rather than from right to left, but we figured it out; why couldn't the others?

I also ran into my friend Bill and his wife Brenda. I've known Bill since kindergarten in Binghamton, and attended their wedding near Albany 20-some years ago. While we were talking, the auditorium got dark and a voiceover came on, so I rushed back to my seat. The narrative was about an icon of the '60s and Christianity, and losing his way, only to come back, starting in the late '90s with three great albums; something like that. Then Dylan (also in black) and his band (in maroon suits) began.

I checked with people later, and the sense of the people in the cheap seats, not necessarily the people on the floor, was the same. While the band was solid, Dylan's vocals were even more indecipherable than usual. Worse, the sound was muddy. My experience was not enhanced by a woman behind me and to my left yelling, at least six times, "Play something we grew up with," peculiar, because the second and fourth songs (Don't Think Twice, It's All Right and Simple Twist of Fate) certainly should have qualified; but he deconstructed them so much that maybe she didn't recognize them. The people behind me and to my right were bored, as they were talking throughout, and not about the music; one woman was text-messaging. The guy immediately in front of me, probably in his mid-20s, had a a hash pipe he was sharing at least a half dozen times with his girlfriend or wife and another couple. None of these enhanced my experience.

It wasn't until they, and lots of others that I could see, left, that the show became halfway enjoyable to me. Summer Days, the 13th song, was a crowd favorite. By the time of the second encore tune, a tremendous All Along the Watchtower, which somehow cut through the sonic mire, another woman behind me was dancing. Afterwards, I thanked her for appreciating what the music was rather than what she wanted it to be. Rocco asked if I knew her; no, I did not.

It was the consensus of everyone I talked to, including Bill and Brenda, that Amos Lee was excellent. There was generally positive opinions about Costello; I enjoyed him a great deal. But it was unanimous that the Dylan experience was disappointing. Rocco thought the show started strong, hit a lull in the middle, then ended great. Bill had gone to find another couple, who had better seats, still along the sides, and the sound was MUCH better, which makes me theorize that, depending on where you sat would have HEAVILY influenced how you felt about Bobby Z. and his band. Indeed I checked with someone with seats on the floor, and the sound was fine, though Dylan's words were not, and even he suggested that the music didn't really gel until the sixth or seventh song.

Still, I really enjoyed the first two acts, and the latter stages of the third, I got to meet Rocco's girlfriend and hang out with Rocco, so it wasn't as though the night were a total bust.
Sarge Blotto's review and Dylan's and Costello's playlist.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

"The fighter still remains"

Lefty had a question recently: Do you have a "special song" that is tied to an event in your life? I feel there are LOTS of songs that bring me specifically to a time and place, from Etta James' At Last, which was played at Carol's and my wedding after our five-year off-and-on courtship to Albinoni's Adagio sung by my church choir three weeks before my friend Arlene died of cancer. There are probably hundreds of these.

Since Paul Simon's birthday is today, I thought I'd note the effect of the songs of Simon & Garfunkel on me.

Album: Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.
Not so much, since I got it well after its 1964 release, maybe not until 1968.

Album: Sounds of Silence
We read the poem Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson in English class in junior high, and we were struck that, in the song, the protagonist, even after Cory's suicide, STILL sings:
But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

Was the worker suicidal as well? When you're 13 or 14, this is heavy stuff.

Album: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
It was my father who bought this, not for me or my sisters, but for himself.
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy): possibly the first S&G song I owned personally, from a Columbia compilation album, Best of '66; covers of Homeward Bound (by Chad & Jeremy) and Cloudy (by The Cyrkle, who had a hit with Simon's Red Rubber Ball) was on it, too. So, I got to appreciate Paul as a WRITER.
The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine: I got razzed about this title.
A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission: I was obsessed with this song, playing it over and over. (It has a Beatles reference, and it rocks.) When I got the S&G box set, the album was heavily represented, but to my disappointment, this song was not on it.
7 O'Clock News/Silent Night: My father's favorite song. "In Chicago Richard Speck, accused murderer of nine student nurses, was brought before a grand jury today for indictment." I remembered that case very well, and knew that there were eight nurses who died, as one was able to hide. So the codification of wrong information on the album really bugged me; a librarian, even then.

Album: Bookends
Voices of Old People: "I'd give, without regret, $100 for that picture." Been there.
Mrs. Robinson: Since I never saw The Graduate until fairly recently, I mused on the meaning of this song for decades.
Punky's Dilemma: "Old Roger draft-dodger, Leavin' by the basement door, Everybody knows what he's Tippy-toeing down there for." Talkin' about being razzed.
At the Zoo: Like many of these songs, I knew/know all the lyrics. My high school friend Carol HATED this song.

Album: Bridge Over Troubled Waters
My sister's boyfriend had bought her the Bridge single. What I remember now is that the single was in a different key from the album cut; can't remember which was higher. Or maybe it was different tape speeds, but the versions are not quite the same.
Cecilia: Among the group of the left-of-center, anti-war folks I hung out with in high school was Cecily, who I'm still friends with.
The Boxer: Another song I knew well, and eventually experienced "a comeon from the whores on 7th avenue" as described here. (I may have been lonesome, but I took no comfort there.)
Why Don't You Write Me: A paean to everyone back home during my freshman year of college.

The solo Paul was even more significant. I'll have to do that sometime.


Friday, October 12, 2007


I'm sure that you heard about that Academy-Award winning guy receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. But do you know who got this year's Ig Nobel Peace Prize? Why, it was the Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, USA, for instigating research & development on a chemical weapon -- the so-called "gay bomb" -- that will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other. In 2004, the Ig Nobel Prize in this category was won by Daisuke Inoue of Hyogo, Japan, for inventing karaoke, thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.

The Ig Nobel Prize: you can waste the whole afternoon reading this stuff.
Local kid on JEOPARDY! tonight.


DMV and Immigration QUESTIONS

If you're not from New York state, you may not be familiar with this issue. If you ARE from NYS, you can't help but know about it.

From a September 21, 2007 press release by the governor:
"Governor Eliot Spitzer and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner David Swarts today announced an administrative policy change that will give all New Yorkers the opportunity to apply for state driver licenses without regard to immigration status. Tied to the policy change, the Governor and Commissioner also announced plans to implement a new regime of anti-fraud measures to increase the security of the licensing system as a new population of New Yorkers comes into the system."

What this means is that Spitzer’s new DMV procedures will allow illegal immigrants to get driver licenses, which would, among other things, increase their employment opportunities. This has set off a firestorm of criticism, some of which has been captured here.

Basically, the reductivist positions are that those opposing the measure are racist xenophobes who want to keep marginalizing the immigrant population, while those supporting the proposal are not only weakening a well-recognized form of identification, but making the country safe for terrorists.

One religious collective, ARISE, sent out this notice this week:
Gov. Spitzer's rule change around immigrant access to a New York State Driver's License has, as I am sure you have heard, generated a political firestorm and a flood of anti-immigrant rhetorical venom.

ARISE clergy made public statements supporting Gov. Spitzer on moral, religious, legal, security, and economic grounds at a press event last Monday, October 1, in Albany, and received pretty good coverage, but since then the anti-Spitzer forces have been very successful getting their anti-immigrant message into the headlines with heated but unfounded claims about security, legality, and terrorism.

To provide a measured and thoughtful reply, and to amplify rational and humane and fair messages about the overheated driver's license controversy, ARISE is participating in two events:

1. PRAYER VIGIL FOR FRANK MEROLA, leading spokesperson for county clerks opposing Spitzer's rule change.
Friday, Oct 12, 10:30am
Rensselaer County Clerk's Office
Across from Emma Willard statue, near 2nd & Congress in downtown Troy
This event is co-sponsored by NY State Labor Religion Coalition, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Emmaus House, Capital District Worker Center, and ARISE (list in formation).

2. STATE PRESS CONFERENCE for allies supporting the driver's license rule change: good for public safety, good for homeland security, good for legal process, and good for working families in NYS
Monday, Oct 15, 12 noon
LCA Press Room, 130 Legislative Office Building

A prayer vigil: love that tactic.

But here's the thing: I see both sides. Changing the driver's ID may be problematic, especially when the state is trying to make the case to the federal government that the driver's ID is as good as a passport when going to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. On the other hand, allowing people a better chance to earn a living wage is a concern for me.

So what do YOU think?

(Hmm, today is the traditional Columbus Day.)


Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Have a Headache

This one in particular:

I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on some of the YouTube videos about racism. There's some weird stuff in the videos themselves, but the opinions of some people - oy. Try the conversation about racism in Alberta, for one. Or better still, don't bother.

There's a December 2006 CNN poll on racism shows that most Americans do see lingering racism -- in others.

Meanwhile, Hispanic Business magazine reports that bias costs companies billions. So, bigotry is not just wrong, it's expensive.

Not so incidentally, John Mellencamp has a new song called Jena:

It can also be found on his website. BTW, the name of the town is pronounced Gina, not Jenna.

Anyway, I think every once in a while, the fact that we're still dealing with this stuff makes me feel as though my head were in a vise.

But I don't think the answer is to pretend that we don't SEE differences in race, because we do, just like we see red hair or a burka. It's how we ACCEPT differences, in my view.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kill More Of Your Idols

Back in JANUARY, I summarized the first half of the book Kill Your Idols, edited by Jim DeRogatis and Carmel Carrillo, about classic albums that were overpraised. I promised the rest the following month. Well, the book then disappeared in my home office, until my wife tidied up (mostly HER stuff, I might add), and I found it again.

Patti Smith, Horses. Arista, 1975. By Melanie Haupt.
The writer's point: I really want to like it, but I just can't get down with it.
My point: Actually, I tend to agree. I bought this, on LP, and listened to it several times, trying to "get" it, but I don't.

Bob Marley and the Wailers, Exodus. Island, 1977. By Dave Chamberlain
The writer's point: overly commercial, not his best effort, lacks fire.
My point: I don't know the other albums well enough to say, but I enjoy it on its own merits.

Fleetwood Mac, Rumours. Reprise, 1977. By Jim Walsh.
The writer's point: Actually, I don't know WHAT the point is. Mostly, how he wants to get a gun so he can kill the members of the band, I think.
My point: I own it on vinyl. There are a few songs on here I actually like (Go Your Own Way) - I know people who would disagree - but I am surprised that it became the utter phenomenon it did.

Paul McCartney - Ram
Paul McCartney, Ram. Capitol, 1971. By Tom Phalen.
The writer's point: bombastic, over-produced weak songs.
My point: OK, it's definitely a goofy album, and even at the time of its release, it took some heat, so I'm surprised it's even included in the book. That said, I enjoyed it well enough, and don't care that Paul swiped stuff from his previous band.

John Lennon/Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy. Geffen, 1980. By Allison Stewart.
The writer's point: The album is impossible to separate from the events of December 8, 1980. Lennon's contributions were moving, if slightly cloying. But Ono's atonality interrupts even that.
My point: Yes, 12/8/80 is all over it. I liked that John was (finally) comfortable in his skin. And I sorta like Kiss Kiss Kiss. But truth to tell, I haven't listened to it in so long, that except for the Makin' Whoopie swipe I'm Your Angel, I can't even REMEMBER the Yoko songs.

The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks...Here's the Sex Pistols. Warner Brothers, 1977. By Jim Testa.
The writer's point: Except for Anarchy in the U.K. and God Save the Queen, he's got the feeling that he's been cheated.
My point: Agree. I find the rest all but unlistenable.

Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables. Alternative Tentacles, 1980. By Marco Leavitt (of Albany, NY).
The writer's point: Hard to take because they take themselves so seriously, even when they're trying to be humorous.
My point: Actually, I've never heard of this album.

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run. Columbia, 1975. By David Sprague.
The writer's point: The Newsweek/Time hype of this bloated album with characters devolved from his previous releases was muscled by the pre-release of every song to a rock station in Cleveland.
My point: O.K., it isn't the messianic departure the hype suggested, and maybe is a bit overproduced in that Phil Spector way, but still enjoyable.

Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A. Columbia, 1984. By Rob O'Connor.
The writer's point: Springsteen is corny, mundane, and conventional. He doesn't recognize rock and roll as the rebellious forbidden fruit, and obviously never had a real job in his life. He intentionally misled people into misreading the title song, ripped off the other songs from other artists, and generally panders to his audience. The album sounds like mud.
My point: I was never hot on Dancing in the Dark, but that aside, I think this is an interesting, diverse piece of Americana.

Various Artists, My Greatest Exes. By Carmel Carrillo.
The writer's point: Since I'm the co-editor of this book, I can write an indulgent chapter about music my ex-girlfriends like and dis them (the songs, and, by extension, the ex-girlfriends).
My point: Not worthy of comment.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Imperial Bedroom. Columbia, 1982, By Michael Corcoran.
The writer's point: It's trying to be Sgt. Pepper or at least Pet Sounds. Instead the album is bloated and pretentious.
My point: I was totally distracted by this sentence:
I was there when they unlocked the front door at Strawberry Records in Albany, New York, the day Imperial Bedroom came out. I KNEW this guy! He used to write for a variety of publications, some of which he put out himself, that he would drop off at FantaCo, the comic book store I worked at in that time period. Knew his then-girlfriend, too, who was MUCH younger. AND I used to buy albums at Strawberry's, and at Just A Song, which was virtually in the same space before that.
As for the album, I just didn't play it all that often. There were three or four great songs that stood out, but the rest, not so much.

U2, The Joshua Tree. Island, 1987. By Eric Waggoner and Bob Mehr.
The writers' point: U2 hemorrhaged sincerity to produce "one of the most relentlessly banal albums in the pantheon of the greats."
My point: As early as 1988, I had this album on my 20 desert albums. When I told that to someone, he thought it was too soon to tell. Fair enough; it's still on my 20-30 desert albums.

Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Def Jam/Columbia, 1988. By Arsenio Orteza.
The writer's point: Shrill noise similar to "Chinese water torture" with a 20-year-old message. And racist to boot.
My point: I have never owned this album, so feel unqualified to comment.

Nirvana, Nevermind. Geffen, 1991. By Anders Smith Lindell.
The writer's point: It "made punk safe for the shopping mall." The overdone soft/loud schtick wore out its welcome.
My point: This is first album that made me feel old. I thought the lyrics to Smells Like Teen Spirit were laughable or a parody, though I appreciated it musically. Upon more plays, I appreciated it more, though it DOES have too much of that soft/loud schtick.

The Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Virgin, 1995. By Rick Reger.
The writer's point: It was "designed to create the impression of 'significance' where, in fact, none existed. The scope of the album isn't its strength, it's its "fatal flaw".
My point: I've never owned it, so can't speak well enough of it.

Radiohead, OK Computer. Capitol, 1997. By David Menconi.
The writer's point: Completely boring and unmoving, though marketed well.
My point: I bought it. I listened to it thrice. I don't get it, either, though the last time, I heard it in 2- or 3-song chunks and it was (surprisingly) better.

Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Nonesuch, 2003. By Allison Augustyn.
The writer's point: Tranquilizing, with a few catchy songs
My point: This was on my "to buy" list -I have other Wilco, which I like - but I haven't yet.

That's it, except for About the Contributors, which is a lot of fun, actually, because at least half of them have one or more albums on their Top Ten albums that someone else has royally panned.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Beatles at Stax

Today, an album called Stax Sings the Beatles is scheduled to be released. But did you know that the Beatles nearly recorded at Stax in 1966? Manager Brian Epstein coming to Memphis to scope out the soul label site, before deciding there was too little security? Here's one article and Stax guitarist Steve Cropper's take. Also, go here to read pages 96 and 97 of Rob Bowman's account in his book Soulsville U.S.A.

Of course today, John Lennon would have been 67; Sean Lennon, who I saw perform earlier this year, is 32.

Here's a montage some YouTuber made last year in honor of John's birthday:

Ken Levine found this radio broadcast of John Lennon, disc jockey that I enjoyed.

Dick Cavett helps John Lennon, sorta. In re: that, the Lennon FBI files.

Really strange: the John Lennon Artificial Intelligence Project. Yes, I tried it.

Bob Gruen's pictures of John and Yoko.

The John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Hip-Hop Sgt. Pepper’s - The Cover Art.

Yellow Submarine Beatles iPod.

Rooting Interest, Part 2

Cubs - GONE
Padres - GONE
Yankees - GONE
Phillies - GONE
Red Sox
Angels - GONE
Rockies (they've won 17 of their last 18)

So, I'm rooting for the RED SOX, the only team I supported that made it out of the first round. (Yes, you can root for the Red Sox AND Yankees; I live in Albany, which is equidistant to both cities.)

In honor of New York Yankees radio analyst Suzyn Waldman, who broke down in tears after the Bombers were eliminated Monday night. Some folks are making much of this; I think it's a non-issue.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Wacky Noodles and Other Things

The mom blogger quiz from MamaBlogga
Take the Mom Blogger quiz!

One of those quiz things from Jaquandor; some numbers were missing, and then I dropped two questions I'd answered before recently, while keeping a couple repeats I could answer differently.

1. You have $5 and need to buy snacks at a gas station. What do you buy?

It would depend how much water I'd already consumed - if enough for the day, probably get a cranberry juice. The rest is pure rationalization: fruit pie or fig bars, because they have fruit; light popcorn, pretzels or Snackwell cookies, because it could have been worse; a soft oatmeal raisin cookie, because it has oatmeal; and something chocolate, such as Mounds or M&Ms , because I've said, "Oh, to heck with it."

2. If you were reincarnated as a sea creature, what would you want to be?


3. Who's your favorite redhead?

I once had a very weird dream featuring Julianne Moore.

4. What do you order when you're at IHOP?

Probably go to IHOP once a year, always on the road. Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity strawberry, because my wife likes the way I say it.

5. Last book you read?

The Genius of Impeachment.

6. Describe your favorite pair of underwear.

If by underwear, one counts T-shirts, then it's this blue U.S. Congress one that my friend Mary gave me.

7. Describe the last time you were injured.

Crashed bike into a curb on Everett Road in Albany, described vividly here.

8. Rock concert or symphony?

It would depend. Have probably been to a near equal number of each.

9. What is the wallpaper of your mobile phone?

No idea.

11. Favorite drink?

Long Island iced tea. Haven't drunk it in years. But this is wrong; it was served way before the late 1970s.

12. What type of top/teeshirt are you wearing?

As of this writing, one I got from the Red Cross.

13. If you could only use one form of transportation for the rest of your life what would it be?

The train, assuming that there is really light rail around here.

14. Most recent movie you've watched at the movies?

The Simpsons Movie.

16. What's your favorite kind of cake?

Carrot cake. Usually have it once a year, on my birthday.

17. What did you have for dinner last night?

As of this writing: spinach quiche; I'm a real man.

18. Look to your right what do you see?

Books, some of my wife's papers, a portable CD player, a garbage can.

19. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

I could not tie my shoes until I was nine, so I only wore loafers. Which doesn't answer the question, does it? Well, I've answered it before.

20. Favorite toy as a child?

A teddy bear, probably three feet tall.

21. Do you buy your own food?

Or my wife does.

22. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?

I encourage it. ("Did you hear what Roger just did?")

23. When's the last time you had a sour gummy worm?

A long time ago. Don't like them.

24. What's your favorite fruit?

Apples (especially Macs), pears, strawberries, blueberries.

25. Do you have a picture of yourself doing a cartwheel?


26. Have you ever eaten snow?

At least once every year.

27. What color are your bedsheets?

Right now, yellow.

28. What's your mom's favorite flower?

I'll ask her.

29. Do you listen to classical music?


30. Do you have a wacky noodle?

My daughter has two, and she plays with them even when she's not in the pool. One of these days, the noodle is literally going to hit the (ceiling) fan, and chaos will ensue.

31. Do you watch Spongebob?

When we first discovered it, quite often. Actually not much in the last three-and-a-half years, ironically.

32. Last food you ate?

Cheerios and Shredded Wheat.

33. Do people consider you intelligent?

Seriously, there are people who think I'm brilliant, just because I was on some game show.

35. Is your away message on?

No. You know what I hate? When I send a message to a listserv and I receive 37 out-of-office messages.

36. Have you ever tried gluing your fingers together?

Something to do NEXT lifetime.

37. What curse word do you use the most?

I really do try not to. It's probably s***, although a****** is my favorite.

38. What time is your alarm clock set for?

5:30 on the weekdays; blame my wife.

42. What CD is currently in your CD player?

Actually nothing. I'm really into playing vinyl right now. That would be a Star Wars album, not the soundtrack, but the actual story, with scenes from the movie, narrated by the late Roscoe Lee Browne.

43. What movie do you know every line to?

Nada. But Annie Hall is probably the movie I know the most lines to. That or the Wizard of Oz.

46. Do you sleep in the same bed with your pets?

No pets.

47. Do you enjoy giving hugs?

And getting. Probably not getting nearly enough.

48. What part of your name do people mis-pronounce?

Occasionally, maybe to be funny, people say Rogger, sorta rhyming with Frogger.

50. If you were to become famous, would you drop your last name?

Nah, it's too colorful.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Angry, Nerdy, Toys & Games

Yes, Lefty, I did see Dylan and Costello last night; more soon.

Yesterday afternoon about 4:30 pm, I heard what I thought was thunder in the distance; this surprised me, as there was nothing in the forecast. Fifteen minutes later, the driving rains came, and massive lightning visible in the low sky, with one thunderclap at 4:55 so loud that I literally jumped out of my chair. During this period, went to the various weather channels; the ones operated by WTEN (Channel 10)and WNYT (Channel 13) had people telling me what a beautiful day it was. It was quite surreal. Channel 9, with a real LIVE person, did tell me that there was a rain cell right over Albany at the moment.

And now, inspired, in part, by the return of Greg's links, though, in the words sung by Carly Simon, "nobody does it better" than Mr. Burgas, a couple things that struck my fancy:


MONOPOLY GAME SpongeBob SquarePants EDITION. Suitable for Hembecks everywhere.

Go check out Jason in Paris. Jason is some guy in some French city, and in his September 21 post, he talks about the French naming of Monopoly properties. And why you're at it, go to his September 26 post and find out what this was all about:

EDISON TALKING DOLL - 1890, an expensive failure. I did not know this.

This goes back a ways: Hey kids, get your "Daddy Dearest" Talking Dolls before they sell out!

I've seen these on TV and find them creepy, rather than soothing: Talking dolls for Japanese senior citizens.

Web Video Cheat Sheet, a menu of online video sharing Websites.

Commuting by ICEBIKE.


The world's weirdest and/or stupidest conspiracy
Well, ONE I believe.

George Carlin: "It's Called the American Dream Because You Have To Be Asleep to Believe It" [VIDEO]. Carlin: "There's a reason education sucks and it'll never get any better, because the owners of this country don't want it better." Should you worry about language? I did say it was George Carlin, didn't I?


Blog to commemorate National Chemistry Week (October 21-27).

Climate change: A guide to the information and disinformation.

...and especially...
Quantum Physics Made Relatively Simple - Three Lectures by Hans Bethe.


Saturday, October 06, 2007


I'd appreciate your input in any or all:

1. What one to three CDs should I put on my Christmas wish list, and why?

2. Why are some people so fussy about folks applauding in movie theaters? People can laugh, cry, shriek; why not clap? After all, it's their $10 and $6 bucket of popcorn, and as long as they're not talking unnecessarily, I don't care.

The theory is that the film actors can't hear the applause; true enough. But neither can the performers hear when you cheer (or curse) your favorite baseball/football/basketball/soccer team whilst seated in front of your television set. Seems like snobbery to me.

3. Have you ever sung karaoke? If so, what are your favorite tunes to sing? If not, what would you sing?
I've never done it - though I have sung, with a live band, Disco Inferno (I'd deny it except there are too many witnesses). Probably Take Me To the River. Or maybe this song from the 1968 movie The Night They Raided Minsky's that apparently was also performed on The Muppet Show:
I have a secret recipe.
Concocted with much skill.
And once you've tried our special dish-
You'll never get your fill.
Take ten terrific girls, but only nine costumes,
And you're cooking up something grand.
Mix in some amber lights, and elegant scenery-
And stir in a fine jazz band.
Then add some funny men, and pepper with laughter.
It's tart and tasty I know.
Then serve it piping hot, and what have you got?
A burlesque show.

Or maybe not.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Let's Talk About Sex

A couple guys at the gym were talking about a recent Oprah show featuring Doctor Oz, who promotes living longer, and feeling younger through a variety of some familiar ideas, and some not so common ones.

From Oprah's website:
Question 10: According to Dr. Oz, how often should you have sex?
A) Once a week
B) Twice a week
C) 10 times a month
D) 200 times a year or more

My compatriots were pleased to discover that the correct answer is D.

"If you have more than 200 orgasms a year, you can reduce your physiologic age by six years," Dr. Oz says. He bases the number on a study done at Duke University that surveyed people on the amount and quality of sex they had. "They looked at what happened to folks that are having a lot of intercourse over time, and the fact is, it correlated." For you math-deprived folks, that's four times a week.

Among the benefits of having sex often, Dr. Oz says, is that it can prove that your body is functioning as it is supposed to. "But in addition, having sex with someone that you care for deeply is one of the ways we achieve that Zen experience that we all crave as human beings," he says. "It's really a spiritual event for folks when they're with someone they love and they can consummate it with sexual activity … seems to offer some survival benefit."

So, it's not the act of sex as exercise that will help one lose weight - one only expends an average of 25 calories. It is that satisfying one appetite center of your brain (desire for sex) can help satisfy another (desire for food).

I wonder if any of my buddies made a point to mention this when they got home?
I come across all sorts of things that I consider for my blog here. But then the internal censor kicks in, and I don't use them, not because it offends me, but because I wonder if it might offend you.

For instance, I came across this story some time ago about a condom fashion show in China, designed to get more Chinese to use prophylactics. I wasn't sure it was even real until I saw stories such as the one here. Still, I let it go until I read stories posted by Rose, a good, respectable blogger, about velvet vulva purses and Japan's penis festival, the latter an ancient tradition which currently raises money for AIDS education.
Speaking of condoms, the magazine Ad Age has been chastising television the past couple weeks. For while there are more sexual acts on TV, there are still major restrictions on advertising condoms. One of the articles can be found here.
At the website/podcast Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Lawful Life, Legal Lad(TM) discusses all sorts of useful information, including Plea Withdrawal (see Larry Craig) and Nudity in Public Places.
I came across the ill-named Hornitos. Somebody was paid good money to come up with that brand name?